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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: E.S. Day Senior Editor: Grimm Culhane Hip-Hop Editor: Dave “Corvid” McCallum Art Director/Layout: Christina Thiele Photo Editors: Sarah Hamilton, E.S. Day, Grimm Culhane Review Editor: Grimm Culhane Staff Writers: Grimm Culhane, E.S. Day, Dave McCallum, Jimmy Lynch (Toronto), Derrick Beckles (New York), Calder Fertig (Calgary), Amalia Nickel, .ninjoelspy., Alxs Ness, Russ Foxx _____________________________________________ Senior Photographer: Sarah Hamilton Staff Photographers: Sarah Hamilton, Chris Webber, Grimm Culhane, Jordana Hovis, E.S. Day, Paul Michalowski, Ajani Charles, Scott Alexander, Jordana Meilleur Web Design/Graphics: John Allan (www.johnallan.ca) Contributors: FINK, PaperMonster, Kyle M. Close, Kevin Daley, Ben Carlin, Kalmplex Seen, Dave Nelson, Kennedy Goodkey, Jeffrey Chan Tin, Scott Alexander, Rusty, Jordana Hovis, Sofia Beth Dixon, Kristina Mameli, Christina Thiele, Jonathan Parsons, Aaron Spires, Denis Malle _____________________________________________ Cover Artwork By Jonathan Parsons (Blakk Reign) ABORT Logo By Ara Shimoon __________________________________ ABORT MAGAZINE is owned and operated by: Abort Media Publishing Corporation (AMP Corp.) 1140 Comox St. Ste 203 Vancouver, BC Canada, V6E 1K5 778.330.7575 Fuck The Fax General Info: firstname.lastname@example.org www.abortmag.com www.abortmagazine.com www.abort.tv
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ISSN 1918-0594 ABORT Magazine is A Canadian Publication
HEADPHONICA DENIED 5AUDIOTOPSY 6 ABORTISTS 16 BEHIND THE BOARDS 18 INKSPLOITATION 21TO THE POINT WITH KRS-ONE 22TALES FROM THE EASTSIDE 26 21 & UNDER W/ SCARY EIRE 28 OUT & ABORT 36 DIZZEE RASCAL vs. EL-P 40 MELVINS INTERVIEW 44 SHOOTING GALLERY 58 21 & UNDER W/ ZION I
60 LIVE REVIEWS 84 CD 94 DVD 100 FILM 102 BOOK
Our monthly chart compiled from the blood, sweat & fears of our staff.
1. Unleash – Soulfly (Roadrunner) 2. Wild Thing – Peaches w/Tone Loc (Delicious Vinyl) 3. Half The Truth – The Royal Court of China (A&M) 4. Soul Clap – Showbiz & A.G. (PayDay) 5. Kick You In The Face – MX Machine (Restless) 6. Belfry – Lone Justice (UMG) 7. The Wrath of Kane - Big Daddy Kane (Cold Chillin’) 8. Blue Rascal(Dizzee vs. New Order) – Dizzee Rascal(Bootleg) 9. High Grade – Capelton (Greensleeves) 10. Crash, Bang, Wallop – Raven (Neat)
ABORT’S latest list of interview requests, and the people who told us to go fuck ourselves
as big as her head, considering we couldn’t even a proper reply nor denial from Management, she leaves us no choice but to throw her in our hall of shame. Our current record holder now makes his fourth appearance in DENIED! We stopped blaming the herb and are now convinced that it is his horrific seminew reality show and hanging with those Bollywood babes, that’s keeping him from gracing our pages. Fuck it, we give up.
Erykah Badu: Ironically Erykah’s ego is
PHOTO BY Paul Michalowski
Bison - Earthbound
We Take An Album and Dissect It Track By Track. The Results can sometimes be… well, messy.
Recent Metal Blade acquirees Bison (whose self produced Earthbound kicks supreme ass), consists of members formerly belonging to S.T.R.E.E.T.S. and lesser known Pequod. Now known as Bison B.C. (for legal reasons according to lead singer James Farwell), their Metal Blade debut Quiet Earth will be released on September 30th, 2008. Produced by Jesse Gander (3 Inches of Blood, Subhumans, Mass Grave, S.T.R.E.E.T.S.), you know that shit’s gonna rock!
Head nodding opener that sets the pace for the rest of the album. The build-up is seemingly endless here as guitars trade riffs, opening a wide expanse that could take this song in any direction. When the vocals join the fray they only add to the culminating effectiveness of this track.
The sludge immediately hits the fan on this one. Simply put, this “is” Wartime set to the beat of something more powerful than a bunch of boring field ordinances. Pure aggression and riff mastery rolled into one fucking great song!
3. Dark Skies Above
Heavy as fuck from the get go, ending up all sludgy and fuzzed out, just like your head after too many “girly” drinks. Unlike your drinking habits however, Bison keep things well under control, showcasing their song writing prowess with slick time changes and no bullshit.
4. The Curse
Long ago in days of yore they used to write songs like this. When a wizard with white hair holds a town hostage, what else can one do besides play bottom heavy melodic phrase to the coming apocalypse? Nuff sed.
5. Cancer Rat
Bass and drums fade in on what is easily the best song on this album. Once the rest of the band kicks it into gear the onslaught truly takes ahold of the listener and does not let go. The impressive number of riffs they cram into this song is only surpassed by Bison’s ability to fit them together effortlessly. Easily their masterpiece... so far.
The power of Bison comes out swinging in this the title track. Catchy, heavy as fuck and put together with both skill and inherent musical understanding which gives Bison a definite distinction over any and all other Stoner Metal bands.
By Grimm Culhane
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Media, Photography and several themes including opposites as Fantasy and Dark
WHO: Bruno Macedo WHAT: Male 25 WHERE: Portugal WHY: I Like Photo Manipulation, Mixed
N O M I
WHO: Nomi Chi WHERE: Vancouver BC, Canada. The FALL Tattooing! Shameless plug - www. thefalltattooing.com WHAT: I’m a tattoo artist and illustrator. I get a jolly out of custom tattoo work, but for the most part I draw, paint, and eat a lot of bacon. WHY: Because I want to be like all the cool kids. WHEN: Book appointments now! firstname.lastname@example.org
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www.thefalltattooing.com - I work here www.nomi-chi.com - My website wormw00d.livejournal.com - My artblog
D O E
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san paulo, brazil
with ben kaplan
The year is 2000 and a younger Ben Kaplan jumps on a jet to Vancouver to work on the new Mudvanye record. He was never to return. Working alongside his partner in crime Garth Richardson, he catapulted his talents over the music industry’s castle walls, to rescue the bands in distress and save the world’s ears from heading to the Gallows. Speaking of which, Ben and Garth are currently producing the new Gallows record as we speak… just though we’d mention it. Ben’s impressive client list includes: Kittie, Chevelle, Sarah McLaughlin, Shakira, Hedley, Project 86, Oliver Black, Atreyu, and Free Flow to name a few.
E.S. Day: As a producer, any urge to ever sampling electronica or Rap drumbeats to use with a metal/rock tracks, I mean, are you open to that? BK: Well these days it blends together anyway like that, I really try to do “Live” anyway, I really don’t rely on loops and samples as much, depending on the record, I’ll use them as icing on the cake. E.S. Day: Upcoming acts on the client list who you are predicting will come out on top based on songwriting (with your help of course) BK: Sherry St. Germain and Ninjaspy E.S. Day: Mixing – Fave piece of equip. that is now obsolete? BK: I wouldn’t say obsolete but if I had to choose, I would say the Echoplex tape delay, I pretty much use it on everything you wouldn’t expect E.S. Day: Is this something that’s not used anymore or… BK: No, people were using it…it was just one of those things, you know, it was noisy and dirty and you had to fuck around with it a bit. Because it’s so dirty and shitty sounding, it sounds amazing. So yes, that is one of my favorites. E.S. Day: I find it strange that people use computer technology today to make things sound like the equipment that they no longer use because they have computer technology BK: Yes… but (laughs) E.S. Day: Given today’s technology, what album or track would you now like to go back and re-record? BK: You mean anybody or something I did? E.S Day: Well, anybody or just something you that if it had been ten years ago “I would have done… this or that” BK: Well I (laughs), I like to go back and redo everything! (laughs). Specifically? I don’t know, but it’s one of those things, I could work on the same record forever you know what I mean? You can always use more time, plus you get more experience E.S. Day: - Artists that you have never had to chance to do a record with? BK: I would have to say Muse. I just love what they are doing; I like that marriage of electronic and hard rock. I just love what they’re doing, it’s wicked. Also, Some of the tones they do and some the sounds they get. E.S. Day: Best starter gear (inexpensive) for up and coming producers, I’m old school (laughs) BK: I still have two Atari 1040’s! (laughs) and the things were like huge, with an 8MHz processor, and if you wanted to do anything you had to put in one of those little floppy disks. Nevertheless, right now it is really about whatever you’re comfortable with. Further than, that you have to have a really good microphone and a good pre-amp.
E.S Day: Fave vocal mic for you right now? BK: believe it or not, a Rode Classic tube mic which is not horrendously expensive, it’s fun because we have all these other good mikes (Shure) 87’s, 67’s, and it depends on bottom row does work on certain vocalists. E.S. Day: Yeah. BK: But as I said I have been doing more Soul and R&B., and it has been working for that, but for a screamer, I’d probably use more like an Shure SM-7 E.S. Day: Can a young group approach Ben Kaplan, if they save their pennies? can Ben Kaplan be affordable to the right artist?. BK: Yes. Usually bands ask “How much you cost?” I say, “How much you got?’ (laughs), but most of the time its bands saying: “We want a two-sided double record with a bonus disc and we’ve got a thousand bucks” realistically, I mean the more time have, the better you can make it. Now with the way things are, bands are recording four and five songs and the days of the album are almost obsolete, what with iTunes and CD Baby, but on the flip side of that, some are into the “Album” now and because of that, it is just more of a concept album now, kind of like Ninjaspy, the segues and the flows in between I mean, I still love that [listening to a whole record]. E.S. Day: Well as far as “concept albums” I wish I could say the same for the new Judas Priest album “Nostradamus” I wish somebody could have predicted that fucking disaster! BK: (laughs) E.S. Day: “360 Deals” how much has this changed the producers’ role now? BK: Well I mean labels are pretty into doing that right now right. Bands, not so much all the time, they are just starting to catch on right now, I mean it’s basically the label gets a cut of everything, merch, touring, publishing…everything. E.S. Day: Items you cant live without in the studio (besides the obvious) BK: Um.. Coffee… (Garth Richardson enters and announces “Porn”) E.S. Day: Did Garth just say “Porn”? (laughs) BK: (Laughs) umm coffee, oh – cigarettes and I have a new little addiction to the Food Network E.S. Day: No way, me too! I like the guy who does “License to Grill” when he smokes the food with the apple wood. BK: Yeah E.S. Day: Well its “Top Ten Recipes with Ben Kaplan” everyone! BK: (laughs ) E.S. Day: Thanks for your time Ben BK: Thank you Ben Kaplan is currently residing at The Farm Studios in Vancouver BC www.thefarmstudios.com
photos by Jordana Meilleur
to the point
fter the Blastmaster’s inspiring address at the Canadian Music Week conference at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto, ABORT Magazine had the honour of sharing a few words with the Teacher. Corvid : So, about the art of MCing - I had the privilege of speaking with Brother J of the X Clan a few months ago and he was speaking about Men of Science gathering together... you mentioned the Logos in there - the power of the word, KRS ONE : Yes. Corvid : new and you also said that back in the day there where five real MC’s, and from that it’s gone on to become a million. Do you see the art of MCing in the Hip Hop culture as something specifically new in the timeline of human existence or is this the resurgence of something that, at a deeper level existed in all human cultures ? KRS ONE : Nothing is new under the sun, but the way in which newness is expressed, or should I say the way in which oldness is expressed, is always new. The world has never seen Hip Hop before, but it has! One of the books I’m putting out this year is called “The Gospel of Hip Hop”, on Powerhouse Publishers. One of the things we argue in there, which I didn’t
get into here, is the difference between a Hip Hop historian, and a historian. In addition, a historian is someone who documents people, places, things in physical time and space. You know, meaning also... go deeper - I’m black. Therefore, if I’m looking for my history, I’m supposed to go straight to Africa - that’s normal. Now Hip Hop’s historian says, “I have a Omni history” - I have an Asian history, A European history, Native American history. Why? Because I’m not defining myself by colour, skin, race, landmass... dates on a calendar. I am defining myself by ideas. Meaning - Hip Hop is an idea, it’s not physical...it’s not a physical thing. You can’t... there’s nothing... you can’t drink something and become Hip Hop. Hip Hop is a shared idea. Therefore, the Hip Hop historian is not documenting people - he or she is documenting the movement of an idea. So, when you read Napoleon...there’s a book out - “Napoleon in Egypt”, and it talks about Napoleon -as a graffiti writer!... yeah. Corvid : How so, how so? KRS-ONE : When, in his travels, Napoleon made it uhh.it was law. It was like, part of the military strategy , to write your name... everywhere you go.
Corvid : On the monuments? KRS-ONE : On the monuments. He wrote on the sarcophaguses of the Pharoahs. They have documentation where Napoleon and his soldiers go into the pyramids, and they say - quote - “graffiti the pyramids”. Now this is Hip Hop’s history... this is not Black history, this is not white history, this is not Asian history. This is... Hip Hop’s history leads us to Napoleon. Hip Hop’s history... Ronald Reagan, President Ronald Reagan...was a DJ! Yeah, he played in 1934, WOC, Davenport Iowa. President Ronald Reagan. His name was Dutch...DJ Dutch. So, the Hip Hop historian is not interested in colour, skin, landmass - that’s called history. But Hip Hop’s history is a Omnihistory. Everybody’s history is my history. Everybody! I could find myself in anybody’s history - as Hip Hop... But NOW, as an African American I’m stuck on that BULLSHIT (laughs) Corvid: Thanks Kris KRS-ONE : Thank you Special Thanks to Brent Smith and Eric Alper
photo by Kalmplex Seen
(kind of) a talk with Stephane Dion
E.S.Day: I was going to ask you right off the bat in regards to the 2010 Olympics, and possibly the B.C government’s involvement in helping with the homeless out there, when it comes too. Right now, they are kicking a lot of people out of some of the low income housing which is already ridden with bed bugs, cockroaches etc... a high addiction rate and HIV rate, do you think maybe Sam Sullivan and the government in Vancouver is not doing a good job at taking care of these people? Moreover, if not - for the simple fact; to make room for tourists? Stephane Dion: I will not comment on Provincial politics. What I will say though, is that I am committed, if I become Prime Minister, I am confident Canadians will give me the opportunity, to have a government focusing on the fight against poverty and helping people to get out of poverty. Our goal is to decrease poverty in Canada by one-third and half for children. This will include a strong effort for social housing. E.S.Day: That’s fine, but I was probably targeting more of the people that live in the Downtown Eastside, who seem to have a little bit harder. Because its more of a targeted area. Its a high concentration of addiction and HIV. The largest HIV rate in
North America...did you recently see the Dan Rather report on www.HD.net.? And he cornered Mr. Sullivan, kind of boxed him in. But I don’t blame him, he is the media. We however are trying to get some answers, more from people higher up in the Government and wondering what they might be able to do. Do you think you would be able to give a nudge? I know you say not provincially... Stephane Dion: You know, if it’s to fight poverty...I will be a strong partner. E.S. Day: Specifically in the downtown Eastside? Stephane Dion: Yes, yes, specifically in the Downtown Eastside. E.S.Day: Your views on them kicking [the already poor] out of the bad hotels to renovate I’m not being a shit disturber, so to speak. Pardon my French (laughs) Stephane Dion: (Laughs) No no, I just want to say that I am proud of the strong colleagues that I have in Birtish Columbia, who are fighting to be sure that Social housing and the fight against poverty will be very effective in your Province. When you have a champion like Hedy Fry for instance it’s a great help. E.S. Day: Stephane Dion; thank you. By E.S. Day
photo by Chris Webber
photos by Scott Alexander
photos by Chris Webber
21 & under with ...
reland’s original Celtic Funk Warriors SCARY EIRE , have always stayed true to their roots and the gents decided to give ABORT’s Dave “Corvid “McCallum a quick break down on the groups status and how they run things in the land of the Shamrock. Just don’t make any Leprechaun jokes
ABORT: what was the reason given by Island records for dropping Scary Eire in 1993 and shelving the “Scary Era” recordings? was it in any way related to your politics and the situation in Ireland at the time? songs that finally became ‘The Scary Era’ album were recorded after a decision was already made to drop the band. I would put it down to bad timing all-round. Mek: Island never gave us a reason, they didn’t have to, they just drop you and that’s it. Maybe they wanted an album full of paddywhackery. Ya know, drunken gob-shites throwin’ bottles at the Brits and singin ‘Danny Boy’. Either way it doesn’t matter, there were some good laughs along the way.
RíRá: There’s been umpteen stories floating around about that situation, none of which were ever clear or confirmed to us. I really don’t tink it was anything to do with politics. The first album we recorded for Island was not the best by our own admission. The
ABORT: “Scary Era” captures what has been called “the spirit of pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland”, in what ways has the economic/political climate changed in Ireland since the mid 90’s and how has this affected your outlook and music? RíRá: The economical state of the country is far wealthier now, but your ordinary working class are no better off, probably worse off now. When we spoke about the dole q’s there were 180,000 people unemployed. It decreased steadily for years but now it’s risen again to over 200,000 and counting. The Celtic tiger is just a smoke screen for people traveling here from other countries; it’s kind of like a Darby O’Gill script. Peace and crocks of gold for all. Mek: Irish dole q’s in the 80s/90s were hilarious. fellas would be comin’ in wearin’ work boots and overalls..ya know - parking the work van around the corner and rubbin the paint off their hands before they queue up for the unemployment benefits. The only thing that really changed is that nowadays there’s less of a heroin problem, every fucker is snortin’ cocaine instead. To answer your question though, the change in economical/political climate hasn’t affected me at all - musically or otherwise. Same shite - different decade. ABORT: You make a point of incorporating traditional Irish music into Old School Hip Hop beats, do you draw a direct connection between your lyricism and the Irish poetic tradition? Any favourite Irish writers/poets/singers ? Mek : For me it seemed natural, we came from a mostly reggae/b-boy background but there was a wealth of traditional Irish music, that had never been sampled. Me and Sloosh would regularly scratch up tracks by Moving Hearts, Davy Spillane, Oisin etc.. If you get past the diddley-eye sing-along stuff, there’s some fuckin great traditional fusion out there. RíRá: Using traditional with hip hop wasn’t intentional, it’s just something your surrounded by in Ireland. Traditional music is part of what we are. It’s obviously gonna surface if your into music of any form, or at least it should unless you’ve grown up in the Bono bubble. As far as writing, people will always try and make comparisons to other Irish writers. Nothing wrong with that, I mean this country has produced the best of authors, poets, playwrights. If I can write words somewhere between Flan Ó’Brien and Shane MaGowan’s thoughts then I’ll be doing something right. ABORT Between separating mid 90’s and reforming in ‘07, what projects have the members of Scary Eire pursued in the interim? RíRá: After ScaryÉire I moved to London and recorded with some top musicians, mainly in the reggae field. I hooked up with a producer called Adrian Sherwood who has been involved in the reggae scene in the U.K. since forever really. It was a great experience and exercise to be involved in. I love reggae as much if not more than hip hop so the cross over was natural. I also recorded a lot of solo stuff, some still in the making. Mek : When the band imploded I hit the bottle hard for a while. It was a lonely kinda time. One minute you’re the talk of the town, signing autographs, next minute you’re sat on yer arse watching daytime telly, eating beans on toast. But ya get over it and I was fortunate to have good people around me. I did some remix work for Ian Brown, Rodney P, Glen Hansard and I released some mixtapes and gigged regularly. Sloosh: I took a sound engineering course and traveled around
Ireland with bands doing back-lining. I’m currently in the process of opening Irelands first brothel for leprechauns. It’s the little tings that count. Mr.Browne: What? 5. How would you describe the current state of Hip Hop in Ireland ? Are there any artists that we should be looking out for? Mr.Browne: It’s good and bad. I wouldn’t listen to much of it but there’s a few heads doing it right. RíRá: I don’t listen to much hip hop from anywhere now, it’s 99% muck. There’s alot of talent in Ireland but it’s pretty much low-key. The best of what I’ve heard would be Urban Intelligence, Collie, The Infomatics, Correkt minds, Exile Eye, Alias Irish. Mek : Like most countries, its hard to find the gems amongst all the internet shite now. Every fucker you meet is a rapper or producer. there’s no ‘fans’ anymore. There’s a bunch of dudes from Cork called the Rubber Bandits who are funny gits.. rappin about toblerones and drugs and that kinda crap. 6. You are clearly aficionados of the sacred herb, what is the state of cannabis culture in Ireland today ? RíRá: The country’s swamped with weed right now, it’s great but I can’t get a bit of hash anywhere? Mr.Browne: The country’s swamped with rotten weed ya mean? Rotten weed and poxy hash. Mek : I dont smoke that much, it makes me listen to Jah Shaka albums for hours on end when I should be making my own. Sloosh: Pot. 7. With the emergence of Grime style Hip Hop in the UK, has this sound penetrated much into the Irish scene ? RíRá: We’ve always got a taste of the UK sound here but it never really took off, not that it even took off much in England. We’ve had the Jungle ting, Garage, then Grime,and now Dubstep’s the flavour. I like some of it but like everyting else there’s only a handful of top tunes, the rest are shallow. 8. Any thoughts on the current state of Northern Ireland and the coalition government ? (my family lives just outside of Belfast) RíRá: No. Sloosh: I hope it all works out. Seriously. Mek : I deejayed at the Belfast City Breakers 25th anniversary a while back and it was class. 9. Are you influenced by the Gaelic Revival ? Any dope MC’s spitting “as Gaelge”? RíRá: I’ve only ever heard one fella rap in Gaelic, a fella called MC Mupéad from Galway I think? It sounded fuckin brilliant. If only we understood what he was saying? but more of it I say. Mek : Same here, that’s the only guy I’ve heard chatting with the Irish language. ABORT: What are your future plans re: recording and touring ? Will we be seeing you in Canada anytime soon? Mek : I’m graftin’ away on some projects with Bionic M.C. (London posse) and Ian Brown. There’s never much point makin plans with Scary Eire ‘cos things either happen or they don’t. Nobody has control of it.. Its like a big drunken robot and there just happens to be 4 fellas hanging on to its wobbly feet. RíRá: New times. New tings. Nuff said. http://www.myspace.com/scareyeire
The ABORT Interview
Brian: I pick up on a lot of S ences and literary reference Philip K. Dick was actually in wrote Blade Runner, it was k amine fuelled winter...so I w about the role of science fict of literature in your lyrics?
El-P: I don’t really care abou you know, I don’t really care and lasers and aliens and a
Dizzee: Stop lyin’, you were aliens and shit for like half a
El-P: But it doesn’t influence
Dizzee: Oh right, yeah yeah
El-P: I’m just saying, like...fo ing about writers like Philip K Orwell is the exaggeration o writing about the future, they what’s happening now and t ridiculously exaggerated me something and open up the, the curtain of some of the re ing around us right now. An the mistake of thinking it’s a I mean, I respect anyone wh perspective and can cut thro bullshit...
Dizzee: It’s like Futurama in the future but they can only based on what’s happening
Currently sitting on top of the UK charts Dizzee Rascal and Def Jux’s own EL-P gave ABORT’s Dave and Brian the one-two punch on touring on drugs, writing on drugs and Science Fiction… to be enjoyed while on drugs.
El-P: Exactly. And that’s inte shit flipped my wig when I w writer, I’m kinda like that.
Dave: So, next question is f “Hardback Industry” you say a label that “isn’t fulla pricks Definitive Jux?
Dizzee: I get on very well, p I’ve done at any other label, out. Like, I used to hang ou sell quite a bit, at XL...but th more like crew I’d hang arou choice! (LOL) No, me and E
Dave: So how’s the relations and Dirtee Stank?
Dizzee: It’s not even like tha ness terms, it’s not even like people, we just get on, it’s ju innit? El-P: We’ve basically been of strangeness on this bus,
photos by Brian Williams
Science Fiction referes in your music... n Vancouver when he kind of an amphetwas just wondering tion and other forms
me...that I will never live down. One incredibly drunken night that we won’t talk about...eventually it just got to the point where I couldn’t defend myself anymore and I just became hamburger meat. I became the meat the Rocky hangs in his freezer to train basically... Dizzee: Whereas, the piece of meat didn’t have a choice, this guy kinda put himself up for it. Brian: What do you think of the role of psychoactive substances in making music, Hip Hop specifically? El-P: I don’t believe in making music, uh, high... Dizzee: I fucking do ! El-P: I mean, like, I’ve done it. At this point in my life, I might smoke a little weed on occasion... Dizzee: He’s more than capable of doing it without it, he don’t need it. El-P: I also just never really had fun combining what I do, with my high. I’ve loved drugs throughout my life, and I’ve done so many drugs - to good effect and to horrible effect...and I’ve just never really combined the two. Me saying I don’t belive in it doesn’t mean that I have some sort of political reason or even some sort of intelligent reason. Just, when I’m losing my mind on some mushrooms, I’m not really capable of sitting down to make some joints. Dizzee: You know, there was always weed around in my situation as far as making music. On Pirate radio there was always shit being passed around, so you might as well get in on it...I’ve been smoking since I was like twelve or whatever, but I’m more of a social smoker, I don’t really go out and buy weed unless I’m on holiday. On this album, I did use MDMA a few times, and I’ve never made music on MDMA before... El-P: Which joints? Dizzee: No, magic...you put a dab on your finger and then on your tongue... El-P: No, which songs? Dizzee: Oh, “Bubbles”. Sometimes I listen to music taking drugs and all that, but it’s not a major part of the creative process. I’m not too creative on drugs, unless I’m making the beats. Brian: Just wondering about the influence of different kinds of music on your own work? Dizzee: Punk rock, Heavy Metal...gospel, my Mom listened to a lot of soul gospel, drum n bass, garage,...someone introduced me to the South-
ern Style Hip Hop like Three Six Mafia, Master P and that around 1999... El-P: I think that if you’re a Hip Hop producer, most producers have a huge record collection, and you’re just constantly listening to other types of music to see what you can steal from them. I mean, I was only Hip Hop as a kid, then when I started to become a producer, I remembered that my father had all these old records. I mean, he wasn’t around, but he left a lot of records. And I can’t understand motherfuckers...it’s like no matter how many records they have they keep making the same beat over and over. To me it’s like, Hip Hop is the ultimate blending and clusterfuck of all this shit, like it’s our job to just take it and rape it all and turn it into something fucked up and beautiful, so that’s what I do. Dave: So, America in some ways sets the standard internationally as far as Hip Hop is concerned. In the same way as Rock and Roll started in the U.S. and was followed by the “British Invasion”, do you see that as your music breaks through to a North American audience more artists are coming over from the UK and being successful in the US? Dizzee: Well the thing with the Rock thing...it might be the race issue, but white people have sort of got it together more over in England. So to be able to do that kind of shit in the first place, black people as a community, especially right now...we’re not in the greatest space as far as organization and doing shit on a big business level. Black people over here, although they’ve had their rough times...it’s massive, it’s a billion dollar industry here. Ain’t that kind of industry at home yet, it’s a small place and there’s only a few people like me cuttin’ through like, just on the whims of knowing different types of music and knowing how to cut in and out of that. Dave: How did the collaboration with Bun B and UGK come about? Dizzee: I met Bun at SxSW like years ago, when I first started coming to America. I just kinda kept the link from then, so, when they were making their last album, I was making “Maths and English”. So, they had a track called “2 types of Bitches”, and they asked me to be on that. I had one I’d written with the beat on it, and I asked Bun to be on that, and I asked Pimp as well, and it kinda ran from there...it was one of the last things Pimp C did. Dave: Thanks Guys
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Dave McCallum and Brian Williams, Seattle WA
Here’s to 20 more From your friends at Abort Magazine & Audible Treats
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ABORT Magazine’s Grimm Culhane caught up with King Buzzo of the Melvins just prior to their American Summer 2008 Tour (with Big Business). The boys discuss the new album Nude With Boots, their mutual hatred of Courtney Love, collaberations both here and in Hell as well as hair tips and fishing with dynamite. Rock and roll may be a lifestyle choice, but according to King Buzzo, mass murder still has its strong points.
Grimm: How are you today King, or should I call you Mr. Buzzo? King Buzzo: Whatever, call me Buzzo, you can call me King. Grimm: I appreciate that, thank you. Buzzo: Hey no problem. Grimm: Now the new Melvins album, Nude With Boots… are you happy with this release? Buzzo: I’m very happy with it. It smells like what it sounds like. Grimm: Is this a natural progression for (A) Senile Animal? Buzzo: It’s a very unnatural progression. Grimm: So you go from (A) Senile Animal to Nude With Boots? Buzzo: Yes, it’s reverse entropy. (A) Senile Animal wasn’t as good and this is better. Grimm: Ok. Buzzo: But, (A) Senile Animal was good, but not as good.
photo by Erin Broadley
Grimm: Right, and again. Buzzo: Might be. Bootsy Collins. Grimm: Excellent about a month and Buzzo: Wow, did with us? Grimm: No he neg Buzzo: (Laughs) I yet. Grimm: You proba him, maybe start p the tour maybe? Buzzo: We’re gon gonna start a Red called the Red Ho gonna be the bass gonna be the lead a record of all Chil Junkie. Like it?
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Grimm: We’ll be looking forward to that one for sure. Buzzo: It’ll be great (laughs). We don’t have to write new songs, the Chili Peppers already wrote them for us. Grimm: That’s pretty handy, I like it. What differed between recording Nude With Boots and (A) Senile Animal? Buzzo: Those guys weren’t as scared of me on this one. They kinda realized I was a blow hard and weren’t worried at all. Grimm: And how is Ipecac treating you guys? Buzzo: Oh they’re always great. Always causing trouble when they’re not freebasing. Grimm: Try and get them in between sessions kind of thing? Buzzo: That’s right, you can get them at the end of the month, when they’re out of money, awake as opposed to comatose. They usually go on these benders that last a week, then they sleep for about a week. Grimm: So you wanna get them when they just come out of hibernation? Buzzo: Well they’re kinda grumpy right out of hibernation. A little while after that you can talk to them, kinda get some answers out of them, but you know… how do you know when a junkie’s lying? Grimm: His lips are moving. Buzzo: Exactly, when they open their mouths. Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: Same as Courtney Love. (laughs). Grimm: (Laughs) Nice. So no love lost there with Courtney Love I can imagine? Buzzo: There was none to begin with. Grimm: I can understand that having met her myself… Buzzo: What would the good part be? Grimm: Probably when we parted ways, they went East and we went West and we were on a bill with them and Show Business Giants. Buzzo: Never heard of them. Grimm: How about NoMeansNo? Buzzo: Oh yeah, I always heard that they have a severe distrust of Americans as a result of the gun situation down here. Grimm: That does sound feasible, yeah. Buzzo: What are they afraid of? Grimm: Getting shot probably. Buzzo: (Laughs) Well I’ve lived here my whole life, so far so good. Grimm: Well that’s good to hear. Buzzo: I’ve never even been shot at. Grimm: That’s probably a good thing too. Buzzo: Probably should have been shot at on a number of occasions, but it’s never happened. Grimm: Just too fast? Buzzo: Yeah. Grimm: (Laughs)
e who’s been a fan for 25 ay it’s quite an achievement. I s high as anything else you up to this point for sure. u, I’d like to think so as well. f you, I appreciate that.
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Buzzo: A lot of people think that people like me should just be jailed just for walking around on the street. Grimm: Wow Buzzo: Makes no sense to me, I’m an easygoing, easy to get along with, nice guy. Grimm: You seem to be, yeah. Maybe you should apply for Canadian citizenship? Buzzo: Nah, I can’t see doing that. You guys have too harsh of winters up there. I live in California, I’m a pussy now. 20 years down here in the hot sun, I ain’t gonna be moving up into the rust belt, no way. I’d die, I’d whither up and die, you know? Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: I’m melting… Who’da thought an insignificant amount of water would have melted me. I noticed whenever we’re up in Canada there’s always a severe amount of advertisements on TV for snow mobiles. Grimm: Right, yeah, and snow blowers. Buzzo: I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those down here, no need. Plenty of advertisements for methadone clinics though down here and the Hollywood methadone clinic actually has a valet. Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: (Laughs) Grimm: That makes sense actually. Buzzo: It does, totally. Grimm: Do you have any insight as to what’s wrong with popular music these days? Buzzo: When was it right? That begs the question that at some point it was right. Like the Alice Cooper quote of “we’re pounding a stake through the heart of the peace and love generation” Grimm: (Laughs) And is that what the Melvins are doing as well? Buzzo: Yeah, I have little or no interest in that kind of “hippy-dom.” I mean some of the music is “ok” but God, the main band for all the hippies was the Grateful Dead and you listen to that shit it sounds like fucking Poco, you know? Grimm: (Laughs) Yeah right, good call. Buzzo: Fuck that. How does Blue Cheer fit in? Where did Hendrix fit into that? Where do The Who fit in? Grimm: Well these are bands who’ve pushed the boundaries at one time or other. I would have to say the Melvins fit into that quite nicely. Buzzo: Ah that’s very nice of you. We’re driving a stake through the heart of something. (laughs) Grimm: Keep pounding away Buzzo, please. Buzzo: Hey, watch the filthy mouth. Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: (Laughs) Grimm: You’ve done a lot of collaborations in the last while.
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Buzzo: We’ve done a number of them, yes. Grimm: Is there any band in particular that you’d like to collaborate with but you haven’t yet? Buzzo: The one I always say is that I would love to resurrect Jimi Hendrix and Judy Garland and do a record with both of those together. Wouldn’t that be great? Grimm: Yeah, with Judy on guitar and Jimi singing? Buzzo: Judy can sing. We’d have to put Jimi on guitar, maybe even bass. Grimm: Sure, sure. Buzzo: Fuck yeah. Him and Judy Garland, it’s a match made in Hell. Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: Cuz that’s where they’re burning right now. Both of their junkie carcasses are burning down there right now. Well… purgatory if you believe in the Catholic thing. Grimm: They had to abolish purgatory, that’s unfortunate. If you wait long enough you’ll be collaborating with them soon enough I’d say. Buzzo: In Hell? Grimm: In Hell, yeah.
Buzzo: Yeah. Grimm: I hope to be there. Buzzo: Only the good go to Hell, that’s it. Grimm: What are the chances of the Melvins showing up on a Big Business album? Buzzo: None in the near future cuz they just got done recording their new one. (laughs) I don’t know, it’s never been talked about. Grimm: Are there any more live video releases coming up, something along the lines of “Salad of a Thousand Delights”? Buzzo: Not for the Melvins. We’ve got the Fantomas/Melvins Big Band DVD coming out in August, big live show that we did in England, it came out really cool. I don’t know when we’ll ever be able to do that again, but… Grimm: Any more Fantomas releases? Buzzo: No, nothing to speak of at the moment. We are going to be playing live at the end of the year at the “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” The Melvins and Mike Patton are curating “All Tomorrow’s Parties” a weekend in December in England
and Fantomas will be playing at that and then maybe doing some of our own shows after that. Grimm: Still in pretty tight with Mike Patton? Buzzo: We’re shoe horned in. Grimm: Is there enough room for both of you and all that hair? Buzzo: There’s never enough room for everybody. Bigger is always better. Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: If you’re in a car wreck do you want to be in a small car or a big car? Grimm: Depending on how much hair is involved I guess. Buzzo: Well hair doesn’t take up much room, it’s compactable. Grimm: I read recently that you actually use wax on your hair. Buzzo: Wax… I never heard that one, no. I don’t know what I would use it for. Grimm: That’s curious to me too because wax would actually weigh it down. Buzzo: Yeah, I don’t use wax on it, I don’t do nothing to it. Grimm: No? You just dry it, it’s natural?
Buzzo: I don’t dry it, I just let it dry on its own. I don’t do anything to it, it’s a filthy rat’s nest. Grimm: Now I gotta ask you Buzzo, with the US federal elections looming do you think it’s a good idea to vote or does that only provoke them? Buzzo: Voting’s always a good idea. I think it’s fun. I think it’s a good idea for people to make their own political decisions and look to much higher sources than entertainers for those beliefs, that’s always a good idea. I tend to think, especially in the rock world, people don’t think about it enough… not at all. As a matter of fact musicians don’t really do any of that. I’ve said this a million times before, but you have to remember, be it actors or musicians, they’re whore mongering drug addicts. Do you really want whore mongering drug addicts deciding, or people who listen to whore mongering drug addicts deciding how the country should be run? “Rock the Vote?” These people can’t even pick out a good band to listen to. Grimm: (Laughs)
Buzzo: They don’t even have good musical taste, gimme a break. Just go back to getting drunk. Some of them are smarter than others, but by and large they’re the laziest people in the world and they’re whore mongering drug addicts, you know? (laughs) Grimm: (Laughs) Buzzo: Its true, all the stories that you’ve heard about all those kinds of things, it’s all true. Absolutely 100% true, if not way worse. Present company excluded of course, but I’m as rare as hen’s teeth. Grimm: After this tour what can Melvins fans expect from you guys? Buzzo: I’m gonna kill myself. I’m gonna take a bunch of people with me too. Grimm: A mass murder suicide? Buzzo: Yes. I don’t want to be a serial killer, I wanna be a mass murderer. Mass murderer is way cooler. A year long mass murder spree. Grimm: Going from city to city, who’s going to open for you? Buzzo: I have no idea. Being in a band would be a great place for a serial killer. Constantly moving, no rhyme nor reason
to it. We play Vancouver, kill somebody. We play down in Bellingham, kill somebody. Kill somebody in Seattle, Mazola, they’d never figure it out, the jurisdictions are all mixed. Canadians and Americans would never figure it out. Grimm: Well you’d better get on that right away before someone steals that idea. Buzzo: I think they probably already have. Grimm: Yeah they may have, that’s a good point. Buzzo: Or a bunch of dynamite, that’d work too. Grimm: We use that for fishing actually. Buzzo: Yeah! Some of those people do that down here too. Fishing sticks they call them? Grimm: Fishing sticks, that’s it. (Laughs) Buzzo: Magic fishing sticks. (laughs) Grimm: Well Buzzo I certainly appreciate your time today. Buzzo: Thank you. I’m glad that you’re taking such an interest in us, thank you so much.
ing ot ho
ery all g
PHOTOS BY AJANI CHARLES
PHOTOS BY AJANI CHARLES
PHOTOS BY CHRIS WEBBER
PHOTOS BY JEFFREY CHAN TIN
PHOTOS BY JORDANA HOVIS
PHOTOS BY JORDANA MEILLEUR
PHOTOS BY SCOTT ALEXANDER
PHOTOS BY SARAH HAMILTON
Photos courtesy Horse-The Band © 2008 Horse-The Band
21 & under with ... ZION I
Amalia: We’re live with Zion I in the heart of East Vancouver, we’ve got emcee Zion and Amplive: how’s it going, guys? Zion I: Whassup. Zumbi: Can i say something here real quick? I actually changed my name now, so it’s Zumbi. Amalia: Yeah, Baba Zumbi, right? I thought you were still going by both names... Zumbi: Yeah i mess with it, but just for the new album trying to push myself a little bit, lyrically and creatively, just wanted to change it up for myself a little bit. Amalia: Okay, so henceforth we’ll refer to you as Zumbi... So let’s talk about your experience coming through Vancouver. Amplive: We’ve been through Vancouver a lot, this is, like, our sixth time and each time it’s just off the hook, we’ve got much respect for Vancouver. Zumbi: It’s just a dope city, man. We’ve traveled a lot and this is one of those cities that’s real fresh, it has a vibe that reminds me a lot of San Francisco because the geography is so beautiful, the people are so cool and the crowd comes out and supports. Amalia: Do you feel that there’s support for the hip-hop scene here in Vancouver? Amplive: I know there’s support for our music, I definitely feel that people have high energy and appreciate what we do. Zumbi: The music industry’s changing, there’s a shift. You guys have always had a hip-hop scene, but hip-hop scenes aren’t as big anywhere anymore...it’s like right now people are going back in the trenches, thinking of some new stuff, it’ll come back. Amplive: It’s kind of worldwide, in 98/99 it kind of peaked then it went down, and then came commercial hip-hop and now it’s moved onto electro stuff. I think the scene always goes through these waves and people like us, who’ve been doing it a long time, just stay true to what we do and try to make good music and just ride the wave. You can’t always be on top. Amalia: When I was researching your music, I noticed that people call your lyrics spiritual and your beats futuristic. Do you agree with that? Zumbi: Yeah, I mean, I try to be a spiritual cat because it helps me stay grounded and I feel better about myself when I am, so not everything I do is like that but i try to have a root. We talk about what we want to do with our music, and i know this cat (motions to amp) is a visionary with his music because he gets bored of shit hella quick so he’s always grabbing from all this different stuff and it just starts to meld. Over the years man, it has been a blessing that we can create this sound and we both have our steez and together we make Zion I. We just make music for change.
Amalia: How do futuristic and spiritual work together, is there a difference? Amplive: we just do what we feel, we do what we see and we just add what we’re feeling at the time to it. Sometimes it’s just straight-ahead hip-hop, sometimes it’s pushing it, so it just goes all over the place. Zumbi: Can I add to that? I think the future and the spiritualism thing, I don’t know if they definitely necessarily go together, but i think where we’re at in the world right now and all the stuff that’s going on is very globalized. When something shifts in one country and 20 other countries feel it, we’re gonna have to move forward in the future to be more spiritual. I think that’s what’s futuristic about it, that as a collective body, a humanity, we have to be more conscious of each other that we are a species on the planet and we share the planet with everything else. Amalia: Amplive, I find it interesting that you’ve been doing a lot of work within the mainstream: beats for America’s Next Top Model, Sports Center, Sony Playstation, Akon, the chick from the Pussycat Dolls... what’s it like to work in the corporate world? Amplive: Some of that was actually Zion I music that got placed, we’ve got people who are interested in our stuff who are in those type of places. To me, this is a job. I love making music but I also make a living off it so those cheques and that type of
stuff is good becasue we get a chance to do what we love and it gets put on a massive scale. Amalia: Do you find that at all contradictory to some of the anti-materialistic themes that come up in your music? Amplive: Honestly, I don’t think we necessarily have anti-materialistic themes. I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t want to drive a tight-ass Mercedes or something like that. But I’m gonna buy property and take care of other shit before I do something like that. I just think that in this world you gotta have balances and we’re not one of those groups that’s gonna go extreme either way, we’re human beings. We make a living off this but we also wanna be responsible to our community. Amalia: How do words translate into social change? Amplive: Words are power, especially when you’re on a larger platform where you can reach multiple people at one time, you know, so I think that if you’re somebody who has something positive to say, something that can have a big influence I think you can bring on a lot of social change. History has proven that. Zumbi. And I think words are like seeds, since we all learn through verbal communication since we were children. It’s kind of instinctual in who we are. I also come from the background where we do music, which is vibration, and everything vibrates in the universe, so i feel like when you make music people tune up spiritually and emotionally to what you’re doing or you tune to what they’re doing and you absorb some kind of experience, and the words are like seeds or ideas. For me, KRS-One, Public Enemy, all these cats in the late eighties early nineties, they really opened me up to explore who I was as an African American which was good for me in my development. You pass an idea on and it keeps getting passed and soon everybody is kind of like, I’m feeling that. If you don’t say nothing, if nobody ever speaks up, and the way the government is rolling right now you gotta speak up before shit gets locked down and we can’t anymore, that’s how i feel. At least back home. Amalia: Do you run into roadblocks because you are speaking up? Are people trying to stand in your way? Amplive: It’s hard to get radio play sometimes, right now being conscious and speaking like that isn’t the trendiest thing. People are still broke and when they listen to music, they just wanna have a good time so you’re sort of competing with the economy and what’s going on right now. When people hear music in the clubs they don’t always wanna hear how bad things are. Right now it’s hard to fight with that so you gotta spoon-feed people in different types of ways. Zumbi: I don’t think it holds us back though. If opens us up, we can perform at juvenile halls, talk to youngsters, do benefits, we try to service the community with what we do and that’s the door that’s opened for us. We can do shows in Oakland, California where a lot of cats can’t do shows because it’s too rowdy, but we don’t bring out that kind of crowd, those cats don’t really mess with us. Amplive: We can do stuff that’s considered conscious but overall people are just moving to the music. We get criticized for that but we also get love for that. Amalia: Zumbi, I wanna talk about your higher self and your overt use of religious and spiritual lyrics in a mainly secular society. You guys are accepted, people are totally down with that shit, why do you think that is? Zumbi: I dunno, I personally feel some kind of spiritual hunger. I’m not Buddha...on our first record ten years ago I was meditating all the time, I’m a different person now but I still have those core values and I was raised to appreciate god and praise god. I feel that I love hip-hop, I’m a complete fan of it but a lot of times cats aren’t saying shit that i can really relate to in my life, like I can’t relate to cats with a Rolls Royce and twenty-nine hoes, I don’t live like that. I relate to cats that got lyrics that talk about life, reflection, and stuff like that. I just try to be who I am. When we started making music we chose the name Zion I because we were both going through a spiritual experience and getting closer to god, we chose it to keep us on point and to do this music is a blessing and we want to give back to people somehow. We could make a song about some stupid shit and a whole bunch more people would like us, but then we’d be compromising who we are...i wanna keep the blessings flowing so I’d rather just do what i feel in my heart and say what i think is the truth. Amplive: And once again, we’re humans. We like girls, we like nice stuff, we like to live great (Zumbi interrupts: We like to party and kick it hard.) It’s a balance and it’s hard as an artist because people always hold you so much to this bubble but they don’t also realize that after you get off that stage you’re also living life. On this new album, we have songs for everything: party songs, songs about what’s going on in the world with gas and how George Bush is fucking everything up, we got songs about girls, how beautiful they are. It’s all over the place because that’s us. Amalia: And the new album is The Takeover, coming out in September, right? Zumbi: That’s right. Amalia: Thanks guys, we’ll see you on your tour for The Takeover later this year, right? Zion I: For sure. By Amalia Nickel
Blowfly w/ ANTiSEEN
Thursday, May 22, 2008 The Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, BC Opener ANTiSEEN failed to impress, even after 25 years of Old-School punk grind and ten hours at the border. Looking more like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s reanimated corpses than the Ramones, they pounded out mindless and predictable riffs with idiotic redneck lyrics like “I’m a wifebeater!” – cool man, I bet she’s your cousin too! As for the inimitable Blowfly, they truly broke the mold on this motherfucker – 69 years old, decked out in his sequin bedazzled bodysuit and cowl with two chubby but hot cheerleaders shaking it to his dirty old man flow. With Norwood Fisher of Fishbone on bass thumping out the Old School funk, the spectacle was in full effect. The sight of a near seventy year old singing songs like “Pussy Wasn’t Made for Drugs”, “Suck it ‘Till You’re Satisfied” and neo-covers like “It’s a Faggot’s World” (“James Brown would kill me for that…”) may sound cringingly bizarre, but really it’s just all about breaking down audience inhibitions – like the classic routine where he takes a girl in the audience by the hand and croons “last night I fucked someone who looked just
like you…” – fucking brilliant! Finishing the last third of the set mask off, Blowfly managed to maintain hypeness throughout, doing an encore in street clothes with a medley of off colour lyrics to popular songs, like “Rhinestone Black Dick” instead of “Rhinestone Cowboy.” The visionary intensity of his lyrics, the sublimity of his performance and the singular focus of his content are what make Blowfly the greatest MC alive. Maybe not… but he is the first black President! By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Photo by Grimm Culhane
The Warlocks w/ The Black Angels
It was a full on smoke show down at Richard’s Tuesday night with screeching guitars replacing screeching tires during the set of L.A.’s own purveyors of neopsychedelia, The Warlocks. Presently on tour with The Black Angels, The Warlocks may have stripped down to a five piece (or maybe so much damn smoke obscured the sixth member), but their sound is still as full and mind blowing as ever. Simple progressions built on the power of three guitars accompanied by the trebly vocals of Bobby Hecksher made for a hypnotic wall of sound. Consisting of songs from their latest album Heavy Deavy Skull Lover as well as material from previous releases, The Warlocks set of low frequency drone seemed laid back and calculated at first, growing and building in momentum as they played and culminating to a cacophonic finish. Their very tasty live show was only hampered by too much smoke machine fodder, yet it did make concentrating on the music alone a whole lot easier. The Warlocks effortlessly recreated that late 80’s shoe gazing sound, mixing it with
the constant drone of neo-psychedelia and filling in the gaps with solid solo work. Drawn out drone, spacey solos and driving beats (plus more smoke than band for most of their set), made for a nice contrast to the current over-the-top metal sound that seems to be purveying modern psychedelia. Influences from such notables as Spaceman 3 and Loop were evident in their set, making it easy for onlookers to just close their eyes and drift along. If music were syrup, this would pour in your ears like warm molasses, settle on your brain like an electric blanket and take you places you’d never expected to go, even without the aid of certain “herbal” enhancements. By Grimm “Drone Junkie” Culhane
Photo by Jordana Meilleur
Tuesday, June 10, 2008 Richard’s on Richards - Vancouver, BC.
Judas Priest with Testament
Thursday, July 24, 2008 GM Place - Vancouver It was a tasty lesson in old school Metal Thursday night at GM Place as Judas Priest and Testament gave the hearing impaired something to truly rejoice about. Looking their age, but still sounding the rage, both bands kept the less than capacity crowd cheering with impressive sets of material both old and new. Testament hit the stage promptly at 7:30pm and featured songs from their latest album The Formation of Damnation as well as a wealth of older material (especially tracks from 1988’s The New Order). Lead singer Chuck Billy was in fine form, swinging and air guitaring his sawed off mic stand with all the deftness of the late Freddy Mercury. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson both sounded great, trading riffs and wowing onlookers. Lead guitarists just love those drum risers. What better place could there be to pose and fling your hair as you bend the shit out of your whammy bar? Theirs was solid set, tight and technically sound with enough conniption inducing strobe lights to satisfy all your seizure needs. Sporting the almost identical stage set as they did on their 1982 Screaming for Vengeance tour, Judas Priest did not disappoint the black clad masses assembled for this visage. Like a glam rock Nostradamus clad in a silver sequined robe, Rob Halford emerged straight up from the stage with a curious silver trident in hand hiding his face for the entirety of the first song (called “Dawn Of Creation“). Once that familiar Halford falsetto kicked in the place all but lost it. All band members were definitely on point this evening, but it was Halford, roaming the stage as the black and silver sorcerer who really demanded the crowd’s attention. A feast for both eyes and ears, Testament and Judas Priest easily proved that with the right seasoning Metal remains tasty as fuck.
By Grimm “Seizure” Culhane
Photos by Scott Alexander
Ozzy Osbourne’s Monsters of Rock Festival
Saturday, July 26, 2008 McMahon Stadium, Calgary AB Much to the chagrin of the elderly residents of the neighbourhood, Ozzy Ozzbourne’s Monsters of Rock festival landed at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium on July 26. Featuring eleven bands on one outdoor stage, the festival provided a varied, but always loud cross-section of metal bands. The festival was a tribute to heavy music of all incarnations. Thankfully, the bands were engaging enough to keep the crowd from revolting over the epic lines formed around the single outdoor beer tent. If you can manage to watch three separate bands from the beer line without going insane, it’s a good indication that the bands in question are doing a damn good job. Though every band put on a great show, Cavalera Conspiracy were easily one of the day’s highlights. The Cavalera brothers’ tribal thrash still sounds fresh and unique, and the band’s unbridled energy and enthusiasm placed them at the forefront of the pack. Likewise, Hatebreed deserve respect for managing to energize the entire stadium, from the floor to the bleachers, despite the pouring rain that threatened their set. A lesser band could have lost the crowd’s attention to the terrible weather, but Hatebreed pulled through and kept everyone engaged.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, unfortunately, was Serj Tankian. Though his set was technically sound, it suffered largely because of its time slot. Wedged in between Hatebreed and Judas Priest, Tankian’s solo material did little to keep the crowd’s energy level high. While the set would have likely fared better on its own, it seemed rather underpowered when seen along with the day’s other acts. Judas Priest delivered the festival’s most theatrical set, complete with multiple costume changes for Rob Halford and a drum riser that concealed a motorcycle. Their classic tracks easily pumped up the crowd, but the band played well enough that even the tracks from “Nostradamus” managed to sound lively. When Ozzy finally took the stage, however, it was clear why he was the headlining act. Bouncing around like a madman, Osbourne commanded the crowd with ease, showcasing a set with no shortage of classics. His unbridled energy may have actually been detrimental to the crowd, as he repeatedly sprayed them down with a hose despite the cold weather. Maybe pneumonia isn’t so bad when it’s delivered with a maniacal grin? Though Calgary noise bylaws forced the festival to finish early, it was clear that the crowd would have been happy to stick around for another ten hours. If the organizers manage to add some extra beer tents on their next visit, they may very well create the perfect festival. By Calder Fertig
Photo by Mike Boldt
July 25-27, 2008 Pemberton, BC The fields that just this past weekend were host to over 120 musical acts on four stages, 40,000 fans in various states of inebriation and several temporary ‘tent cities’ lay quiet now, while the task of cleaning up the mess left behind is just beginning. The first annual Pemberton Music Festival recently wrapped up to rave reviews from performers and not so rave reviews from those of us who had to drive back. Motorists crawled at a snails pace along the sea to sky highway all weekend, heading to and from the festival site in the middle of a seemingly deserted town 15km north of Whistler, BC. Concert goers were faced with hay covered dust fields closely resembling the desolate wastelands of Las Vegas, with nothing but the mountains to remind you that you hadn’t left BC. Despite the festival being a fuse lit at both ends, there was still much fun to be had.
The drunken frenzy of the first night came to a crescendo as Trent and the rest of Nine Inch Nails hit the stage with an impressive lightshow backed with a set list chock full of fan favorites. Trent, clearly on his 15th cup of coffee, bounced from one side of the stage to another, screaming almost as loud as the fans. Nine Inch Nails left without performing an encore, leaving fans a little disappointed At this point those wise enough to have arranged a cabin to stay in were spared the task of shambling back to the tent city with the rest of the zombies.
Sam Roberts and his band started the day off at the main stage. The bearded singer put on a great show, with a powerful stage presence, but paled in comparison to that of the Flaming Lips later in the day. Gord Downie came on stage with a black jacket which was promptly torn off after the first song, seizures ripping through his body, he jolted and jumped all over stage, kicking wildly and attempting to ride his mic stand before breaking it, and jumping off stage to give the base of the stand to one lucky fan… which wasn’t nearly as weird as crouching down in front of one of the cameramen and stroking his head while singing, wiping his sweaty tissue all over his face. Not to be outdone, Wayne Coyne, eccentric front man of The Flaming Lips sent out enough Teletubbies to choke a donkey before inflating a giant bubble, climbing in and rolling himself over the crowd, all sorts of weird sounds emanating from his bands instruments. A crash and a bang on the gong as confetti exploded from two canons on either side of the stage sent yellow and orange paper into the mountains more than 300 meters away. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers stole this day, with a first rate light show to rival that of Nine Inch Nails and the powerful stage presence of the fiftyseven year old Tom Petty himself.
Stuck in traffic for the first acts of the day, Interpol hit the stage upon our arrival. A bit of a lack-luster performance though, with just enough pizzazz to keep fans on their feet and cheering. Interpol bassist Carlos D. figured a dry, hay covered field would be a good place to butt out his cigarettes from on stage. Thankfully that spark didn’t ignite… much like their music. Heading over to the Bacardi B-live stage for Chromeo, the Bacardi tent was the preferred venue for a large chunk of the crowd. The lineup stretched half way across the festival grounds with many choosing to stay in the cool tent letting hypnotic beats lull them into a trance while enjoying seven dollar cocktails. Chromeo may have just used Pemberton to warm up for their next two months on the festival circuit, but their performance lacked nothing and drew one of the biggest crowds of all three days.
The crowd erupted louder than at any other single time to sing along to “Freefallin” and cheered Tom and the band off before they ran back to the stage to play a three song encore, starting out with “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” then a phenomenal long version of Van Morrison’s 1964 “Gloria,” with a little Petty twist to it, and finishing with “American Girl.” A quick check on MSTRKRFT in the Bacardi tent and there wasn’t much room to stand with thousands of people jumping up and down and screaming themselves hoarse.
(rehab style), to noticeable guitar riffs from Aerosmith. Guess they had Guitar Hero Aerosmith at the hotel in Whistler. Chris Martin and his band Coldplay finished the festival to a split crowd, the Coldplay fans, and the drunk Coldplay fans. Chris was quoted as saying “Thank you for letting us play while you walk to your cars.” Despite a shit-load of people calling this a gong show, the only real problems were the lack of suitable roads to the small town of Pemberton, the inept volunteers on the first day, and gates A and D, the only gates confiscating alcohol. By Sofia Beth Dixon
Rain. Thankfully. The dust died down enough to not be a bother for most of the day, until the crowd summoned more dust storms by jumping along to bland rockers Death Cab For Cutie, who’s stage presence bordered on coma-inducing. Funk rocker/rapper Pharrell Williams and N*E*R*D* gave the crowd a much needed boost of adrenaline, inviting no fewer than a dozen ladies to the stage, and a single guy with a blowup blue guitar to finish out the rhythm section, which arrived late due to unrealistic traffic coming up from Whistler. Pharrell urged the crowd to storm the stage if they cut him off, or asked him to stop before his set was done, much to the chagrin of the security in the pit. Thankfully, Jay-Z and Coldplay agreed to be pushed back, and crisis was averted. Half an hour before Jay-Z was scheduled to play, a single helicopter landed not far from the festival grounds, so rumors were flying that Jay-Z and Beyonce had just arrived. Jay-Z wouldn’t be joined by anyone today, much to the disappointment of the crowd, but threw down some solid tunes, with some recognizable samples from artists like Amy Winehouse
Photo by Scott Alexander
Monday May 19, 2008 Neumos, Seattle
EL-P w/Dizzee Rascal and Busdriver
timings of “Bubbles” and “Flex” than to the slow/ fast double-time of tracks like “Stop Dat”. As for the El-Producto himself, he offered a stripped down version of the show we were graced with last year in Vancouver at the Plaza Club just him, his hype-man and DJ Mr. Dibbs tearing through a set that included Company Flow classics like “Definitive”, fan favourites from Fantastic Damage like “Deep Space 9mm” and “Stepfather Factory”, and new material from “I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead” like “Smithereens”. It’s as though after exercising his musical aptitudes in so many styles of production in the last few years, he has rediscovered his love of Hip Hop performance, and he came across more as the hungry battle MC B-Boy of “Funcrusher” days than the tortured artist of “ISWYD”. Mr. Dibbs outdid himself with his original, electro-scratch sonics, and freaked the audience out during his DJ routine by drawing sounds from a theramin planted in a baby-doll head. Despite the density of El-P’s productions, the sound was crystal clear, and his crisp enunciation and booming delivery left hardly a line of his sprawling, space age lyrics unheard. The triple threat of Busdriver, Dizzee Rascal and El-P left the audience sweaty and stupefied, dazed by the experience of artists with such complete control over their sound and performance. If they had chosen to come to Vancouver, they could have packed the Commodore and left a massive bootprint on our collective ass. Alas, it was America, and the only difference between this and a Vancity crowd was the distinct lack of chronic to be had… By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Busdriver must take his job very seriously as the opening act for the current Definitive Jux tour, because within about twenty minutes he had moved a seemingly unenthusiastic crowd (less styley than in Vancouver, but funny to see that they are just as apathetic…) into near moshpit frenzy with his furious quadruple time attack, and his man backing his very grimey beats with live and spontaneous key pounding on an MPC. Busdriver’s on some seriously original shit (as is any rapper who appears on stage in a They Might Be Giants shirt…) - using two mics at once for strange echo effects and spitting more words in a set than some MC’s spit in a whole career. Dizzee Rascal plays to festival crowds of over 30 000 people in Europe, and after opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their recent US tour, it’s cool that he would still play at a grimey club like Neumos to a crowd of not over 150 people. With the Dirtee Stank emblem of steaming shit covered in flies displayed proudly behind them, Dizzee’s DJ warmed the crowd up with a display of UK styles, mixing garage, grime and old classics like “Wait a Minute Mr. Postman” into a blitzkrieg of elecronic mash-up. When Dizzee took the stage, he announced that “when I’m through, you all are gonna know my name!”, launching into the metal guitar driven “Just a Rascal” to wild response. The set drew mostly from Dizzee’s first album “Boy in Da Corner” and his recent “Maths and English”, with classics like “I Love You” and “Stand Up Tall” alternating with newer bangers like “Where’s Da G’s?” and “Paranoid”. When the ride cymbal and distorted guitars of “Sirens” kicked in, the effect live through a sound system was absolutely crushing, heavier than 90% of today’s metal and ending with the audience screaming out “I break the law, I will never change!!!”. It still seems as though the North American audience doesn’t quite feel or understand the beat structure of grime, as the dancing was more frenetic to the familiar
Photo by Brian Williams
Photo by Chris Webber
tasteful styles of DJ L’Oqenz (as in Eloquence), all the way from the T-Dot. Warming the crowd to his flexible, laid back yet intense flow, Joose started with a call and response, then dropped his “Education” verse acapella. Fellow Killawatt member Lamar Ashe stepped up to back him on “Too Many Gangsters,” a cautionary song about the life of violence that seemed to resonate in a scene that too often glorifies it. Conscious and intelligent, gritty and street all at once, Joose kept the crowd hyped. Os12 has been working hard in the Vancouver Hip Hop scene (and elsewhere) for years, and the result is “The Demonslayer” - an MC prepared to face all obstacles to come through hard and slay demons and wack MC’s everywhere. His initial freestyle was five minutes of fury with the focus, meaning and clarity of a carving - all inspired by the technical glitches that conspired to ruin his set. His written tracks dropped indigenous knowledge, righteous rage and party raps over mostly Westcoast gangster beats, with a commanding stage presence and selfeffacing humour. Hellnback of Team Rezofficial, whose video for “Lonely” is in top ten circulation on Rap City, represented for the hardcore gangster element ferociously. His fierce flow and massive presence upped the ante for intensity, and left the audience stunned like deer in the headlights. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Keep 6ix, Joose, Os12 and Hellnback
Monday, July 21, 2008 Monday Night Live at the Lamplighter Vancouver, BC. Keep 6ix kicked it off with a slammin’ set of heavy gutter beats and hustle raps. Their rugged lyricism and gangster hyphy beats primed the audience for yet another night of what has become a VanCity Hip Hop institution. After the first track, Keep 6ix had all heads turned stageward steadily nodding to the beat. Killawatt crew member Joose, fresh from some dope shows in the Kootenays, was accompanied on the decks by the subtle and
DJ Kool Herc
Friday, May 23, 2008 Club Shine - Vancouver, BC The man known as the Father of Hip Hop and born Clive Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, Kool Herc entered the club without fanfare shortly before his set, in the humble yet dignified manner of an elder statesman of the culture he is credited with originating. After briefly introducing himself and exhorting the crowd to “just have fun” in his inimitable Bronx accent, he launched into a near two hour set that spanned the entire history of Hip Hop - from it’s origins in the hard breaks on James Brown records, through dub and reggae and into the current era of pop/party rap music. The mixing may be primitive in it’s truly Old School simplicity, and it’s obvious that Herc’s break juggling was probably never the smoothest, but the first portion of the set represented Hip Hop in it’s most elemental form - recalling a time when Herc and his crew would jack power from lampposts to throw down the hardest sounds available in order to counteract the twin evils of gang violence and disco music. Herc had the bass up to a punishing eleven, which made the transition from hard funk to classic 70’s reggae sounds perfectly chest rattling.
With his frequent shout-outs to the dancers and rough and ready skills on the decks, he made clear the Jamaican dancehall origins of his technique and vibe. When moving into the present, Herc’s choice of tracks was less than satisfying, with an unfortunate predilection for radio friendly club bangers from the Akon School of Pitch Correction. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t want to represent for the violence predominant in modern Hip Hop, but to my mind songs about “making love in this club” do more damage to my sanity than gangsta rap ever could. Kool Herc was never known for producing original music of his own, but for organizing and instigating parties which are still legendary today. The fact that he is still making a career touring and performing DJ sets is a testament to the fact that he can still rock a party well into his 50’s - while I may not have been feeling all of his track selections, the vast majority of the audience were happily sweating and grinding away a great Friday night. Respect due, and not just for his past achievements - Kool Herc still rocks the house! To the beat Y’all! By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Photo by Joose
Monday, July 7, 2008 Monday Night Live at the Lamplighter It was still light outside when legendary producer/DJ/Emcee Diamond D began his early show at the Lamplighter. One might expect that the presence whose production credits include Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde would be hardly contained inside a small club, but the entire set was surprisingly low-key. Ticket holders came and went without even realizing that Diamond D had hit the stage: he stood behind his turntables and did not get on the mic. Diamond D’s classic production style includes mostly simple loops and heavy breaks, so listening to him spin his creations was a treat. It is rather unfortunate that he avoided the mic because he paved the way for producer/ rappers with his self-produced debut Stunts Blunts and Hip-Hop in 1992. Since then he has continued to build his reputation in both arenas, winning a Grammy for The Fugees The Score in 1996. Diamond D’s set may not have been very hype, but he is a pioneer of hip-hop production and Vancouver should feel lucky to have had him at all. By Amalia Nickel
Photo by Sarah Hamilton
Rock the Bells Festival
Sunday, July 20th, 2008 Arrow Hall, Mississauga, Ontario Kidz in the Hall seemed unfaded by the task of opening this edition of Hip Hop Master Class. They rocked their styles to the fullest to an indifferent, “Screwface City” crowd. Next up, Supernatural blazed through cascades of freestyle, on topics from the audience and back screen visuals. His virtuosity is truly deserving of legendary status. Cool Kids rocked a short set of their hipster rap. Decent in it’s own way but not overwhelming, given the context. Murs managed to win over a difficult crowd by taking requests from the audience and doing double duty as his DJ had been detained at the border. A live band took the stage, and Fatlip, Imani, Slimkid and Bootie Brown appeared to remind us all why The Pharcyde are a classic group still relevant today. Opening with “Pharcyde”, they tore through tracks like “Drop” and “Ya Mama”, each one a unique and engaging performer. De La Soul are a group who seem to age without ever getting old, and the energy they threw into their set made them all seem fifteen
years younger. From over a decade of classics to new joints off of “The Grind Date”, De La had the audience in the palms of their hands, finishing with “Rock Co. Kane Flow”. The Mighty Mos Def seemed a little less mighty in his unfocused and rather lackluster performance. Dwelling too long on old Reggae tracks, spitting almost half heartedly, it was rather disappointing from an artist capable of so much more. Time to stop acting and get back to MCing. Rakim opened with “Guess Who’s Back”, but plagued by sound issues he harangued the soundman and even threatened to leave at one point. Awe inspiring as it was to see Rakim, when Redman and Method Man took the stage it was pandemonium. Their high octane set left the audience sweating and bewildered. Nas finally arrived with DJ Green Lantern, and his charisma and nearly visible aura more than made up for his occasional fumbles and lack of breath. Q-Tip also was backed by a band, and joined by Mos Def on the opener “Feva”. After a few solo tracks, Phife joined Tip for “Bugging Out”, and a host of other Tribe classics. The audience literally lost their shit at the intensity of seeing Q-Tip, Phife, Jarobi and Ali Shaheed together on stage again, and this was definitely the culmination of a night of Hip Hop greatness. Photo and text by Ajani Charles
RZA as Bobby Digital feat. Stone Mecca
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 Richards on Richards, Vancouver BC After whetting the crowd’s appetite with a dope DJ set of Wu Tang classics, Stone Mecca took the stage in all their glory to tear through a passionate set of “Futuresoul”, reminiscent of Parliament/Funkadelic, complete with congas, keys, pummeling bass and rotating vocals from four different singers. Initially the audience seemed surprised at the shift from down-tempo Hip Hop to more upbeat funk and soul, but transformed into a sweltering dance floor after the third song or so by the brilliantly intense tunes and smoking hot vocals (and vocalists…). When Bobby Digital took the stage with mic in one hand and wine bottle in the other, Stone Mecca immediately shifted into an immaculately thudding Wu Tang groove, played with sample-like precision and uncannily faithful to the 36 Chambers sound, so much so that at times I nearly forgot that this was a live band running through classics like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Reunited”. Rarely have I heard musicians who can lock into solid Hip Hop like Stone Mecca, and RZA’s production style lends itself well to live bass, drums and keys. RZA’s flow was solid throughout, rarely faltering or relying on his hypeman to finish his lines, competently working the crowd into a frenzy with a two hour set of material drawn equally from the classic
Wu catalogue and his own Bobby Digital tracks, and hyping the release of his new “DigiSnacks” album, which drops on July 1 2008. Despite consuming a whole bottle of wine and the better part of a forty-pounder of vodka on stage, (and God knows how many blunts backstage), he remained focused and energized, his characteristically slurred delivery belying his unmatched prowess as an MC god. “If you ain’t having a good time then you’re wasting your time!”– the theme of the evening and the essence of life according to Bobby Digital. RZA showed a side of himself that surprised many in the audience - some of whom joined him onstage toward the end of the set to shake their drunken asses – a hype live rapper whose band tears through funk, soul and Hip Hop like few others can. Peace to the Gods and the Earths. By Dave “Corvid ” McCallum Photo by Scott Alexander
Terror, The Warriors, Death Before Dishonor, CDC, Trapped Under Ice
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 The Sweatshop - Vancouver, BC. There are few instances in history when many voices become one. Rarely will you see shows with so much heart and camaraderie. Terror returned with a line-up so anti-arena rock that those who have only seen them otherwise would marvel. This is where they began and it is where they will always be the most real. The night started early, and the crowd was still sparse when Trapped Under Ice took the stage, but they played like it was their only show ever. They had huge heart, you could see it in their unassuming and humble fervor. In between the barrage of heavy chordage they featured a lead guitarist who shredded like Kerry King, just a hint of the metal that seems to permeate, beautifully, much of today’s hard core. They played like every word was sacred, but gladly gave up the mic to anyone, including members of other bands, who knew the words. The line between the stage and the crowd disappears here, and music is nothing without the people that hear and feel it.
CDC went up next, and plowed through sophisticated breakdowns and blistering beats, cajoling the crowd ceaselessly to pick up their feet. But something had happened to the energy, perhaps a symptom of feeble Vancouverite laziness syndrome. They practically spoon-fed hype to the people. Props to them for trying, but there efforts were futile, for they knew not the mysterious and unconquerable demon that is often Vancouver music viewers. Death Before Dishonor was fucking intense. All voices were heard on “Count Me In”, a gang scream-along so good, people who had never heard it could chime in, and did. People hurled themselves across the front of the stage so wildly it’s possible they thought they could fly. It is possible they did…for a second. The intensity only went up and the gravity down from there. The Warriors waged their campaign of good hard time’s right through the thin walls of the venue. Their lead vocalist was refreshingly diverse, and again all voices became one in the final chanting of “War Is Hell.” Terror was more intense than I have ever witnessed them before. “More stage dives! More stage dives!” could be called the quote of the evening. The pit was mayhem as scene kids and newcomers became enmeshed, surprisingly, without incident. The whole crowd shared lead vocal duty for the breakdown in “Keep Your Mouth Shut,” and somehow ego managed not to get the better of most people that night. Perhaps it had something to do with Scott Vogel’s humble words… “I am not in a rock band. I am not cool. I don’t care how big or good your band is. All I care about is right here. This is fucking beautiful.” By .ninjoelspy.
Photos by Jorda
The Jolts CD Release Party w/ The High School Girls + The Parallels
June 13, 2008 The Cobalt - Vancouver, BC Friday the 13th may be unlucky for some, but not if you’re a fan of The Jolts. Celebrating the release of their latest album Haute Voltage last Friday at the Cobalt (with friends The High School Girls and The Parallels), this was a night of surf/retro/ punk rock bliss. The High School Girls shot the curl first, playing sweet surf instrumentals the likes of which you don’t hear enough of these days. Clad in a white blazer, sporting a bitchin’ pompadour and with toothpick firmly in mouth, lead guitarist James “Guitar Owner” Elwood displayed some expert chops for all the “hodads,” “landsharks” and “surf bunnies” in attendance. Backed by the frenetic energy of second guitarist Ben “Guitar Aficionado” Fussell and solid drumming from Tony Dallas, The High School Girls went “off the Richter” with classic surf covers of “Walk Don’t Run” and “Misirlou,” as well as plenty of original material. Even with no bass player The High School Girls still sounded locked in, maxed out and ripping. The Jam was up next… or at least they sure sounded like The Jam. Actually it was Vancouver’s The Parallels and their very retro sounding set. Flashbacks to the 2nd British Invasion were evident as they played songs reminiscent of The Clash, Squeeze and Elvis Costello (and even older bands like The Kinks). This four piece
did manage to maintain a fresh sound in spite of varied and numerous comparisons. Their haunting keyboards, sweet vocals and catchy tunes will definitely carry these boys a long way. The Jolts hit the stage and proceeded to tear the Cobalt a new asshole (not that there was anything wrong with the old one). With more energy than an editor-in-chief working on his 2nd pot of coffee of the day, Joey Blitzkrieg, Dr. Dylan Danger, Lector Kurrentz and Matt Von Dander showed the hometown audience exactly why they are one of the most exciting live acts presently playing in Vancouver. Riding on the strength of their latest slab Haute Voltage, The Jolts and their swaggering, sneering and searing live set gave new meaning to the term “holy fuck!” New songs like “DXM,” “Hey, Alright!” and “Bloody Eye Socket” sounded right at home with their earlier material (especially live, where The Jolts truly excel) and show these boys have what it takes to be the next big thing. If you haven’t caught The Jolts live yet I suggest you run, don’t walk, to their next show, you won’t regret it. In the mean time, grab yourself a copy of Haute Voltage, put on some coffee and prepare yourself for The Jolts. By Grimm “Wipe Out” Culhane
Photo by Amalia Nickel
Zion I, featuring Emotionz, Main Offenders and Manik
Monday, June 30, 2008 The Lamplighter, Vancouver BC Emotionz, Main Offenders and Manik 1derful kicked the night off with a fine selection of sets showcasing some of the best of Vancity’s underground talent. All of them have been at it for more than a minute, and it’s good to see the progression of their skills, with Manik’s voice sounding more gravelly and mature while kicking a dope, more self-reflexive freestyle. Oakland’s own Zion I’s entire set seemed to revolve around the persistent one-two handclap that AmpLive laid down on his MPC, with MC’s Zion and guest hypeman Mikah 9 dropping intensely passionate, positive yet blazing lyrics over increasingly complex beats played live by Amp. With accompanying visuals on multiple flatscreens and Zion’s scorching delivery gaining speed and hypeness steadily through the set, the effect was seriously elevating. Their- reality focused and spiritually minded lyrics drew the mind into higher regions of overstanding while AmpLive’s electro sounding beats (more reminiscent of Southern crunk than Westcoast) got asses shaking and fists pounding. With tracks running the gamut from ‘97’s “Enter the Woods” EP to the ’07 “Street Legends” mixtape, they presented a thorough world view and musical platform influenced by Oakland’s original finest – the Black Panther party, Rastafarianism and a spiritual understanding of life. Zion kicked things into high gear by announcing that they had been “spending time in the lab”, and then dropping one of the quickest freestyles I have ever heard – jaw dropping flow with seriously visual content, a rare combination indeed. Zion I proved that “conscious” and “positive” are not necessarily dirty words in Hip Hop – it’s a matter of focus and intensity with the beats to back it up, that separate the righteous from the wack. Zion I have reached the heights, but rather than looking down on the crowd they seek to bring them up to a higher level of being. By Dave “Corvid ” McCallum
Pidgeon John and Luckyjam
June 23, 2008 Monday Night Live: Hip-Hop at the Lamplighter - Vancouver, BC. Monday Night Live continued to bring hiphop communities together with intimate performances by Living Legends’ Luckyiam and Quannum Records’ Pidgeon John. The stylistic differences in Lucky’s matter-offact storytelling and Pidgeon John’s twisted charisma made for a unique combination. “It’s poetry, but it’s not a poetry reading” declared Luckyiam as he took the small stage at the Lamplighter. He immersed the crowd in lightning fast flows and made it look easy; the crowd unabashedly beamed at him as he connected to the eager fans in the front. There were some new songs with the old favorites; It’s Time to Get Lucky is the new album out soon, and the title track featured shrill melodies and layered rhythms, the narrative relatable: “Your family/ No Plan B.” Through his entire set, crisp beats accompanied memorable tracks like “Play This” and “The Best I Can” while Lucky sang, rapped, rapped faster, and sang some more. Pidgeon John opened his set with the inevitable “Welcome
to the Show,” and let the crowd know exactly what they were in for, to “have fun in a major way.” The styles of his dance beats made an excursion through the eras, musical interludes introduced as 1969, 1979 and so on. In true Pidgeon John fashion, songs were broken up with stories and jokes, the artist leading by example by having a lot of fun in his performance. The usual hype songs like “Freaks! Freaks!” and “Do the Pidgeon” were balanced with darker intimations in “Life Goes On” and “Emily.” Pidgeon John’s uninhibited energy caused his set to gain a rather uncommon depth both musically and in the content of the stories he told. One can hardly ask for more on a Monday night in East Vancouver. By Amalia Nickel
Photo by Chris Webber
Friday, June 6, 2008 The Fall - Vancouver, BC
Venetian Snares w/ Guests
Altering perception is much easier to accomplish when music is involved, which is exactly what Aaron Funk (Venetian Snares) seems to be intent on doing. Celebrated by the late John Peel for his inventiveness, Funk’s elaborate time signatures and rapid, almost frantic beats give him a distinct, intense sound. Your body can’t help but be moved by his music even if its challenging to finding the groove amidst the onslaught of sound. Although intense and almost riotously aggressive, it was nice to be a part of an audience definitely into the sounds of Venetian Snares, respecting each other’s space and not slamming into each other. Things did get out of hand, but not out of control. Altered perceptions are only violent by choice and much more useful when used for personal growth. Venetian Snares, along with a very few other artists, are composing
the soundtrack for a higher level of music aficionado, music both challenging and exhilarating at the same time. For those of you who have experienced a live battlefield or had your chest repeatedly thumped by recoil during an ammunitions test, Venetian Snare’s set would have had a distinct familiarity to it. For the uninitiated, suffice it to say that destructive and constructive forces can have a lot in common, yet be worlds apart when it comes to delivery. Not only did Venetian Snares deliver, he blew the fucking doors of perception clean off the place. By Grimm “Aldous” Culhane
Photo by Grimm Culhane
If they aren’t piercing it through you, inking it on you or cutting it off you they’re blasting it through you down at The Fall these days. A sweaty Friday night of Venetian Snares drum’n’bass/drillcore with a myriad of guests was a perfect example, and the buzz generated beforehand made this one impossible to miss. Guests including The Square Root of Evil, Taal Mala, Colby Sparks, Hunter Green and The Goblin Queen (some of whom even got to play), and close to 200 of The Fall’s best friends, it was a packed and humid house of beat hungry electronic enthusiasts.
Monday, June 9, 2008 The Lamplighter – Vancouver
Imaginations Treetrunk Reunion
heavily complemented by raw talent… it’s always surprising to come across an emcee who can actually sing. Ending the night were Chadio and Azrael, later joined by Shay and Cons to form Dance Dance Revolution, whose enjoyable set reflected the tone of the entire night. A lovely dance party was had by all, on and off the stage, while Shay stole the show with her charismatic style and wickedly fast flows. A good-clean-fun kind of rowdiness ensued to send the crowd home in true family reunion style. Text and Photo by Amalia Nickel
Last Monday night at the Lamplighter marked the gathering of no less than eight local acts on the independent Vancouver label Imaginations Treetrunk. The Imaginations Treetrunk Reunion Show did not disappoint in content or tone: it certainly was a reunion, like a family gathering if your crazy drunken grandmother wore booty shorts. An unexpected bonus was hometown hero Josh Martinez’s performance and video shoot. A young veteran of the underground scene, Martinez effortlessly had the crowd eating out of his hand. Something of a scene-stealer, it was unfortunate that Billy Botox and Mars G had to follow in his wake with comparatively drab performances. Things started to pick up again with The Groundbreakers’ formidable contrast of staccato and smooth vocals and old school vibes. G-Boxx hit the spot with some intricate beatboxing while Attikus rhymed real nice. Main Offenders kept it simple with concise, conscious rhymes and bare-bones beats. Amid old-school cuts they brought local issues to the table, incorporating political, social and environmental ideas into their high-energy presentation and had the crowd vehemently chanting “slum city” by the second song. The lyrically limber Tapwater were followed by crowd favorite Kaboom. His comic energy and uncontained self-assurance set the stage for sick rhymes of multiple speeds, styles and rhythms. His irresistible stage presence was
Saturday, July 12, 2008 Downsview Park - Toronto, ON. Edgefest is normally held in Molson Park, in Barrie Ontario. Its ideal location of 45 minutes north of Toronto does little to dissuade the locals from showing up in droves. Unfortunately, the property adjoining the park, the gigantic Molson brewery itself, was shut down for being Canada’s largest clandestine marijuana grow-op (complete with workers quarters, lounge and common areas… oh, and all the dope you can smoke!). Two stages awaited in excess of twenty thousand people, who were in desperate need of a diversion from the fact that they just shelled out $80 bucks to get in. The proceedings were plagued by lengthy delays throughout the day and night. None more lengthy, however, than the 35 minute wait after Sam Roberts until the Stone Temple Pilots (no doubt some kind of dope malfunction). Stage two was reserved for lesser known bands like The Flatliners (the headliners), Hostage Life, The Coast and on and on. Mostly forgettable, except for Modernboys Moderngirls, who for their 20 minute set pumped out 80’s style new wave, clad in “The 20 minute workout-meets-Blondie” style outfits. A fine effort indeed, considering there were only 50 or so people watching at the time. Stage One’s last four bands were The Bravery, Sam Roberts Band, Stone Temple Pilots and headliners Linkin Park. The Bravery put on a brave show indeed, for as soon as they appeared the heavens opened up and monsoon rains turned the grounds to a giant mud-pit (much to the delight of otherwise pissed-off mosh-pitters). Sam Roberts still cant afford razors, but at least he can put on a respectable show. Not exactly alternative, but the audience preferred it compared to the silence between bands. After Sam Roberts finished the rains subsided somewhat and the drenched fans streamed towards the beer gardens area. By 2pm the line-up had reached at least 250 people. Those who
had no desire to be sober had to wait at least 2 to 3 HOURS just to get their hands on a maximum of 2 piss-warm cups of draught beer. Nothing like waiting for beer in a mud-field under the rain and broiled alive in 40 degree Celsius weather only to by corralled like cattle to a feeding trough on a uneven fenced-in zoo-like area! . After what seemed like forever, amazingly enough the Stone Temple Pilots managed to find their way from their tour bus to the stage. Thank god for the GPS! The sound man must have been in the employ of STP, because it was way louder than before, but then again, who could remember? And hey, what’s with the moving scarecrow onstage? Oh, wait, sorry, it’s actually Scott Weiland doing his best impersonation of someone respectable. By the time Linkin Park went onstage the beer sales had been mysteriously extinguished, fueling the wrath of many. Sober times indeed, as if on cue Linkin Park came out with a whimper, playing a lame version of Breaking the Habit and other equally sleepy-time crap with one-third of their lineup on stage. All in all, it was a trial run for this location which proved to be an easily accessible one, with public transit right there and major highway access nearby. Under slightly different circumstances it would have been amazing. It should be done again, but this time consult the Weather Channel, get more beer gardens and have heavier bands. Maybe this would put some more Edge in Edgefest. By Jimmy Lynch
Photo by Jeffery Chan Tin
Reverend Horton Heat w/ Nashville Pussy
Thursday, June 26, 2008 Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC. There ain’t nothin’ more pleasing to a man than a trusty hound dog, an ice cold beer and a big ol’ plate of Southern fried rock! Although my hound dog couldn’t get into the Commodore on Thursday night, The Reverend Horton Heat and Nashville Pussy supplied enough shit kicking distraction to make me forget my troubles for a while. Ice cold beer sure helped too. All the way from Atlanta, Georgia and swinging hair instead of fists, Nashville Pussy beat the crap out of the audience with their hard driving, hook laden and right from the crotch RAWK! Long hair, bending at the knees and flailing on an instrument like a crazy person seems awful easy when you’re mashed up against some stranger in the pit, but boy howdy that shit’s gotta be a challenge, especially with all that damned hair to contend with. Lead guitarist Ruyter Suys made her presence known by swaggering and tossing her hair like she owned the place. Two seconds into the first song and she did! With hubby Blaine Cartwright revved up on guitar and vocals, Karen Cuda supplying the buxom basslines and Jeremy Thompson swinging sticks like there’s no tomorrow, Nashville Pussy commenced on ripping through their set like a hound dog rips through an ornery possum. Although considerably less bloody
and a few decibels louder, their set sure was fun to watch. When the irreverent Reverend took the stage for some “country-fed punkabilly” a respectful hush fell over the crowd the likes of which you’d probably hear in a church, synagogue or any place of worship. Nah, I’m just jerking your rosary, the place went fucking ballistic! Reverend Horton Heat has been extolling the virtues of good times, good friends and good beer for neigh on 20 years now with no sign of slowing down. With his signature orange Gretch slung across his shoulder and backed by band members Jimbo Wallace on stand-up bass and drummer Paul Simmons supplying the blessed beats, Reverend Heat commenced to preach songful sermons of love, life and liquor. Like preaching to the choir, the boys went through their set with song after song of crowd pleasing hits, all the while keeping the frenzied audience just this side of spontaneously combusting. If hell doesn’t want you and heaven is full, I’d just as soon stay right here if I were you, especially with shows like this to bide your time and blow your mind. Myself, I just gotta figure out how I’m gonna get my trusty hound dog in next time. Text and Photo by Grimm “Shit Kicking” Culhane
through their set like field artillery leveling an Afghani village. With song titles like “Horde of Undead Vengeance,” “Assassins of the Cursed Mist” and “Slaughter the Bestial Legion” you can pretty much guarantee these boys won’t be playing your niece’s sixth birthday party, unless she already has five piercings and a tattoo of Satan on her… uh… self. An amazing set from Miami based Torche was up next. This four piece displayed some of the most relentless rock you’re ever likely to experience. Drummer Rick Smith beat the absolute fuck out of his kit while the rest of the band (Steve Brooks on guitar and vocals, Juan Montoya on guitar and Jonathan Nuñez on bass), executed some of the most unique songs this reviewer has heard in a long damn time. Pere Ubu on way too much speed with a mix of Keith Moon and John Bonham on drums. Check these guys out, phenomenal! If your ears hadn’t been ripped from your head by this point, Boris climbed on stage to finish the job. Takeshi, Wata and Atsuo were joined this night by touring guitarist Michio and after a lengthy “sound re-check” (what with 2 dozen or so pedals to plug in) they tore into their set like a Sumo tears into his first meal of the day. Touring on the strength of their 17th studio album (which Atsuo calls “a pop record”), Boris played a myriad of songs off previous albums Heavy Rocks, Pink and Akuma no Uta as well as plenty of new material from their latest disc Smile. Loud, furious and unrelenting, there’s something about drone metal coming at you in Japanese that gives it an extra edge. Whether it’s Wata’s tasty guitar riffs, Atsuo’s insanity on the drum kit or Takeshi’s multi-talented work on vocals and his two necked bass/guitar, (with no lesser credit going to Michio), Boris has that edge and it’s razor sharp. Two days after this gig my ears were still ringing. Fucking brilliant! By Grimm “Hebi-Metaru” Culhane
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 Richard’s on Richards - Vancouver, BC
Boris w/ Liar of the Minotaur and Torche
Drone metal is quickly becoming a genre to be reckoned with as evidenced by Wednesday night’s gig at Richard’s on Richards. Along with Liar of the Minotaur and Torche, Japan’s favourite psychedelic “Droners of Doom” Boris made a much welcome return to Vancouver, extolling the virtues of Japan’s second best export (after sake), loud music. Chicago’s Lair of the Minotaur got the evening going with a blistering set of heavy fucking metal. These “War Metal Battle Masters” (which is also the name of their latest release) shredded
Snoop Dogg w/ Warzone and Westurn Union
syncopation on topics ranging from, well… women to money, but delivered with such finesse and with such a strong downbeat that his a cappella voice alone was enough to move the crowd to bumping. After an overly long wait filled with vapid club tracks and bright lights flooding the dance floor, Snoop, Warren G, Nate Dogg (et al.) took the stage to the expected fanfare. After seeing Snoop’s performance at GM place last year featuring band, dancers and assorted shenanigans, this evening’s middle aged sausage fest on stage really failed to impress. Snoop drawled his verses laconically throughout, and the requisite hits like “Gin and Juice” were delivered like classic rock tracks whose time has passed. Even the crowd seemed only moderately amused, indulging to the fullest in the booze and trees, perhaps to convince themselves that it was better than it actually was rather than wilding out and shaking it. Despite some seriously chest rattling bass reverberations, the beats themselves sound dated and the rappers skills are more as showmen than as lyricists. Still, it’s the big Dee Oh double Gee and his aura of greatness that surrounds him regardless (more purple than Rick James’ reputedly orange glow). The cocky ease with which he handles the stage (and the foot long blunt) is the hallmark of his fame, and for those that came to worship at the feet of Snoop, all his shortcomings are easily forgiven.
Thursday, June 19, 2008 Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC. Openers Warzone and Westurn Union provided an adequate set of hype Westcoast gangsta flows to warm up the rather lethargically stoned crowd to moderately warm response. Obviously this was just another Thursday night for many club goers who were clearly there only for the main event. Mistah Fab’s flow on his written tracks was again merely satisfactory Westcoast thuggishness, but when he dropped a solid five minutes plus freestyle his skills shone as brightly as the platinum and diamonds hanging from his neck. Effortless Old School cadences dropped in perfect
By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Food4Music w/ Nylithia, Magnus Rising, ReEntry and Flood of Fire
Saturday, June 21, 2008 Pub 340 - Vancouver, BC. Local entertainment company Food4Music, who bring attention to independent bands through charity fundraising (especially for the food bank), presented two nights of Vancouver’s best up and coming bands last Friday and Saturday nights at Pub 340. ABORT Magazine was proud to attend Saturday night’s show with a non-perishable desire for good music… and a non-perishable jar of peanut butter for the food bank. Show starters Nylithia (with big hair and big energy) got the place sweating immediately. This hometown four piece possessed the proverbial “wall of sound” and put it too good use as they blasted out some impressive experimental thrash metal. It takes more than blazing solos, decent songs and visual presence to make a band truly impressive though as Nylithia proved in their all too short set. “You can’t stop the pit,” said lead singer Aaron Hawkins of Magnus Rising as they readied to play next, and he was right. Their latent heavy sludge sound, chest thumping bass and finely tuned solo work had bodies flying everywhere. With new
drummer Kevin Wesley in tow and Aaron’s vocals on point this night, (along with bass player Matt Snow and guitarist Roger Cranford supplying the systematic string slaughter), Magnus Rising happily (and loudly) supplied the soundtrack to the alpha-chimp work-out taking place around them. Stopping this pit would have been like stopping a tsunami with a beach blanket. Performing their own brand of progressive math-Metal, Coquitlam five piece Re-Entry were up next, dropping some deep syncopated beats, heavy and melodic chord changes and enough foul language to make my fucking truckdriving granny blush. Numerous short genre-splicing chord changes tended to destroy the groove of some songs, but when the band kicked in with power chords they fucking rocked! The final band of the night, Flood of Fire, gave the crowd even more of what they came for. Sounding like a dozen recognizable bands rolled into one tight machine (think Monster Maiden), Flood of Fire does maintain a unique sound through duel guitars and solid drumming. Alex Domijan possess a decent voice as well as bass playing chops making him a stand out front man. The Pink Floyd sounding interludes in some of their songs worked very well book-ended between power riffs and some heavy King Kong attracting drumming. A bit of this, a bit of that, but most notable was the sound that seems to be rising from the usual steaming pile of Vancouver shit. All four of these bands, as unique as they are, exemplified that sound and will hopefully continue to carry us through the next great wave of local metal.
By Grimm “Non-Perishable” Culhane
Misery Signals Controller Ferret Music Misery Signals destroys contrived, whiny, angry for trendiness sake “Metal” bands with their newest release Controller. Straight from a place of passion, anger, aggression and sincerity, this album is a straight up blast of heartfelt, heavy fucking metal. Although Misery Signals was originally formed in 2002, their current vocalist Karl Schubach joined the ranks just before the band was set to record their previous album Mirrors (2006). In such a relatively short period of time the band’s overall sound has evolved into a much heavier, concise new breed of technical hardcore that hits like a sledgehammer to the face. While the heaviness and aggression seems to have been achieved in large part by Karl’s powerful, hard-hitting vocal style, the other members have definitely put a focus on aggression as well. In regards to outside influence, the boys had enlisted the help of Devin Townsend as producer. His creative and boundarypushing insights have certainly helped to develop their sound on this record. The second track, titled “Weight of the World”, opens with a machine-gun-like, rapid-fire riff courtesy of Ryan Morgan (guitar), Stu Ross (guitar) and Kyle Johnson (bass). This track seems to take on the mentality of destroy the audience in under three minutes and leave them wondering what the fuck hit them. With some very brilliant and varying rhythms instigated by Branden Morgan (drums), “Weight of the World” is both a perfect song to mosh to as well as a great example of flawless musicianship. As a matter of fact, Controller is front to back a very listenable and infectious demonstration of what can be achieved musically and lyrically when the members of Misery Signals put their hearts and souls into a project. Set to hit the shelves July 22, 2008, Controller will definitely set Misery Signals apart from the masses and into the ears of metal heads everywhere. Sound and Fury Self-Titled Rebel Youth Shit-kicking, in your face, AC/DC style Canadian rock and roll, the Sound and Fury boys have some chantable choruses that showcase exactly what they’ve grown up on: old school rock. No copy/paste formula here folks, just straight-ahead, from the heart and downright nasty. The sound and fury of Sound and Fury sounds nothing like a typical Canadian act and maybe it’s a good thing. They’ve been fortunate enough to be given the right to tour the States, including festival appearances at Warped tour and more, that also sees the gents arriving here in town with Airbourne. Hopefully the West Coast will be enlightened by the east again, and these boozy blues-hounds will deliver the goods in their own right. All songs (music and lyrics) written by lead vocalist Luke Metcalf. Production credits are also awarded to this gent as it seems like he’s the brainchild of the whole thing. Hopefully that doesn’t keep the rest of the band from looking like hired guns. There is nothing exceptionally original here, but certainly a bit of a catchy, energetic and younger take, on the traditional “Local Bar Metal” sound, certainly worthy of getting a stamp of approval. The perfect companion to a basement kegger and may well be the soundtrack for a new breed of denim and leather clad aficionado. By E.S. Day
My Cluttered Handbag Eyeliner Damage Murse Records Lesser known Emo pioneers My Cluttered Handbag return to form with their third nod to banality entitled Eyeliner Damage, the follow up to their staggeringly un-popular, yet equally abysmal Chicks Stole My Pants. For a band that continually sucks balls (and have for their entire career), My Cluttered Handbag show no signs of ever being taken seriously and keep pumping out albums like blood seeping from a gaping self inflicted wound. Lead singer Mopey Felo-De-Se is in rare form here, whining and simpering his way through some of the most forgettable tracks you’re ever likely to avoid. The bass sounds “phoned-in,” which, coincidentally, it was, played over the phone from bass player Sad Tragic’s room in the legendary McLean Psychiatric Hospital. Guitarist Sonny Daze R. Painful performed his immediately regrettable riffs while suspended by the neck from the rafters of his parent’s basement. This slowed recording time down considerably as he repeatedly passed out and needed to be cut down and revived between takes. Asked why he preferred to record this way Painful replied, “I’m a perfectionist and if it weren’t for all these damn people around I could get it done right!” In response to the complete lack of drumming on the album, lead singer Mopey was heard to mumble, “our drummer’s girlfriend accidentally cut his bangs and he (Dreary Failure) hasn’t been seen since. We would replace him, but everyone who showed up with their Mum and tried out couldn’t pout with real conviction the way Dreary could.” After the exceedingly wretched performance of their seminal “concept” album Killing Yourself… With Friends (with guests Ian Curtis (Joy Division), Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and Michael Hutchence (INXS) who were posthumously channeled by psychic Madame Jizorka on her sousaphone), record executives considered pulling it from store shelves and free download sites until it was pointed out to them that the record had never actually been released. If emptying the contents of your stomach or finding creative ways to cut yourself are on your daily agenda, nothing will be more accommodating than a good dose of Eyeliner Damage to go with it. By Grimm “Prevaricative” Culhane
By Alxs Ness
Withered Folie Circulaire Prosthetic Records If you can envision a soundtrack befitting a soul’s slow descent into madness, Withered’s Folie Circulaire would be about as close as you can get. Even the title, when translated reads circular insanity (if taken literally); this term alludes to bipolar disorder and manic depression. Whether or not Withered intended this relation of the terms and their meanings to this album, there’s definitely a dominant feeling of torment and suffering woven into each song. With dynamics ranging from sludgy, distortion consumed riffs to intricate, fastchanging rhythms Folie Circulaire keeps the listener on their toes. A great example of varied and contrasting elements tightly bound together can be found on the track “Dichotomy of Exile”. This song starts off slow and deliberate with a guitar-only intro (Chris Freeman and Mike Thompson), but quickly accelerates when the bass (Mike Longoria) and drums (Beau Brandon) kick in. There are some really impressive rhythms and flourishes thrown in as well, courtesy of Brandon. One of the most disconcerting elements of this track however, is found in the mixture of ruthlessly executed demon growls with mournful, wailing screams. Vocalists Freeman and Thompson definitely create a dark and unsettling tone with their individual voices giving rise to a call and response type feeling in this track. As far as classifying Withered into a particular genre or style, good luck. These guys seem to have a concentrated focus on mood and progression/regression in their tracks and not so much a preoccupation with fitting into a particular brand of metal. Props to them! Along with the fact that this album contains some wicked artwork by Paul Romano, Folie Circulaire is definitely a must have for those who enjoy becoming completely engrossed in the music that they listen to. By Alxs Ness
Opio Vulture’s Wisdom, Volume One Hiero Imperium Souls of Mischief emcee Opio releases Vulture’s Wisdom, Volume One as the first of three solo projects coming up this year. This lyrically-focused album, produced by Oakland-based The Architect, is short, sweet and stripped down to the rap basics: uncomplicated beats and poetic rhymes. The first single, “Stop the Press,” is carried by deep electronic sounds layered and repeated while Opio reminisces about the good old days of hip-hop: “I come from an era where you might get charged at/ For rapping on stage and you look like a mallrat”. Opio’s off-handed commentaries do not come across as the bragging of a cocky young rapper but rather as the wisdom of an experienced veteran. He does indulge in the typical self-hype of rap though, and takes the expected jabs at hip-hop culture. From materialistic priorities -“of course you wanna get with me, I live in a mansion”- to failed attempts at originality- “plus you just a succubus who’s taking all my concepts”- Opio is unafraid to play the critic. Although the album is largely void of skits and other such filler, each and every song opens with a redundant announcement; “you are listening to limited edition volume one Vulture’s Wisdom, be on the look-out for volume 2…” Yeah, we get it. Fifteen years after ’93 Til Infinity Opio has become a living classic: his style has changed little since the early 90s yet has not become outdated. As a whole, there is nothing exceptionally exciting about Vulture’s Wisdom, Volume One but the beats are solid, the flows tight and the words wise. By Amalia Nickel
Straight Line Stitch When Skies Wash Ashore Koch Records For whatever reason, metal is a male-dominated genre; while there are some kick ass female-fronted metal bands out there, they are few and far between. In a way, the fact that metal isn’t saturated with female screamers allows them to stand out. Sometimes this happens in a negative way where they stand out due to the sheer novelty (unfortunately) of a woman screaming, but sometimes they stand out because the front-person is genuinely talented and can kick ass just as hard as any guy. This is the case with Knoxville, Tennessee’s Straight Line Stitch. With their newest release When Skies Wash Ashore set to hit shelves August 19th, 2008, SLS are set to leave their mark on the metal scene once again. What makes this album unique is the dynamics involved with each song. Although the use of melodic vocals and rock-influenced choruses may not appeal to those only interested in straight screaming/growling vocals, you can’t ignore the fact that Alexis Brown is able to both scream and sing extremely well. On top of that, the music itself creates a nice blend of skull-fucking heavy shit and quieter more introspective parts. Overall each song explores aggression together with beauty and melody. The boys, Seth (guitar), Pat (guitar), Jason (bass) and Patrick (drums) supply a heavy, steadfast foundation while Alexis shifts from vocal chord shredding screams to strong melodies and back again. One standout track is titled “World Made Flesh.” This one is easily the most intense song on the album. It starts off with a pretty chill introduction, quickly leading into a savage verse that has you head banging from beginning to end. Seth and Pat certainly composed some crazy riffs for this track and picked the ideal times to break them out. Other highlights include some crafty drumming, a solid chorus and a mood-setting guitar solo near the last half of the song. Having performed with heavy hitters such as Slayer, Mastodon, Killswitch Engage and Napalm Death, Straight Line Stitch are no strangers to playing live and holding their own. They are definitely a band to watch out for. Also, be sure to check out the video for “Black Veil” and keep your eyes peeled for the soon-to-be-released video for “Taste of Ashes”, featuring Hatebreed vocalist Jamey Jasta. One word: HOT. By Alxs Ness
Hammerfall Masterpieces Nuclear Blast Hammerfall’s latest release Masterpieces is an eighteen track compilation of metal cover songs. Since these tracks are all taken from a selection of both obscure and well known bands from the 1970s and 1980s, this album is definitely going to be of interest to all the power metal/ hard rock/epic metal aficionados out there. The one strange thing about it, however, is that Hammerfall had previously released all of these songs except the last three (“Flight of the Warrior”, “Youth Gone Wild” and “Aphasia”) on various albums from 1997-2005. In effect, Masterpieces is a greatest hits of cover tunes. Well, that bit of strangeness aside; it is a great album and definitely a valuable metal almanac for those of you who weren’t yet born when these songs were originally recorded. This album has two very strong effects. First, it definitely works to showcase Hammerfall’s talent as musicians. Joacim (vocals), Anders (drums), Oscar (guitars), Stefan (guitars) and Fredrik (bass) definitely deserve some props for the fact that they chose eighteen tracks from many different styles of metal and managed to maintain the original feel of each song. That’s not to say that these are bare-bones covers though; the talent and style of Hammerfall does shine through. The upgrade in sound quality from the original “old-school” recordings is also a nice touch. The second positive effect, is that Masterpieces pays homage to many of the fore-fathers and mothers (check out Chastain’s original version of “Angel of Mercy”) of metal. While a few of the bands such as Judas Priest, Twisted Sister and Helloween are well known, many of the others have since faded into obscurity and would’ve probably remained unknown if it wasn’t for an album such as this. That being said, it’s definitely worth your while to check out the original versions of each song; the ones you can find anyway… By Alxs Ness
Neuraxis The Thin Line Between Prosthetic Records Neuraxis, based out of Montreal, QC are one of those metal bands that make you proud to be Canadian. These guys have successfully created a unique sound that merges both melodic and technical aspects of metal without sacrificing aggression or composition. Having been at the task of creating music and performing live for over fourteen years, they definitely have both down to a science. Their newest release, The Thin Line Between, hits shelves July 22, 2008 and it is definitely worth picking up! Do yourself a favor and buy the actual CD as it contains some excellent artwork by renowned artist Dennis Sibeijn (Chimaira, NIN, Job for a Cowboy, etc…). The album begins with “Darkness Prevails.” This track does not waste any time to get to the meat and potatoes aspect of Neuraxis; impeccable technical skill by Rob Milley (guitar), Will Seghers (guitar), Tommy McKinnon (drums) and Yan Thiel (Bass), as well as vocals (Alex Leblanc) that kick you straight in the throat. At times it is Leblanc’s relentless vocal style that helps to keep the overall sound brutal and dark. One cool detail that was not overlooked in the design of the CD book is the inclusion of the lyrics. Although Alex’s vocals are discernible and clear on their own, it’s nice to have the print for reference; these lyrics are extremely well written. The self-titled track is an eight minute behemoth. It starts off like a kamikaze freight train on a journey to hell, with moments of building and releasing tension the whole way through. There’s also an eerie cool-down moment near the last half of the song that seriously shows off McKinnon’s flawless doublekicks. One aspect of this album that is almost immediately perceptible is the way that each song flows into the next while still remaining individual and distinct. There isn’t one bad track to be found anywhere. Also, the sound quality is amazing. The Thin Line Between is definitely an accomplishment that Neuraxis should be proud of! They’re certainly working hard to spread the word; these guys just recently completed a crossCanada tour with Fuck the Facts and Gross Misconduct. If you happened to miss those shows, you have a chance to redeem yourself as they are on the Summer Slaughter Tour Canada line-up, alongside Necrophagist, Dying Fetus, Beneath the Massacre, Into Eternity, Whitechapel, Veil of Maya, Divinity and Common Grave. Their live-show contains the same quality musicianship and vocals found on the album but with the added bonus of the intense energy that can only be experienced in a live setting. By Alxs Ness
Ancestors Neptune With Fire North Atlantic Sound Slaves to the riff take heed, the debut album from L.A.’s Ancestors entitled Neptune With Fire is here and it wants your soul. Of course you’ll gladly give it over when you hear this riff laden psychedelic opus and its multi-layered, thick, progressive doom, culled straight from the seventies and blasted through every essence of your being. Conceptual in its construction, this immersive aural experience consists of two tracks (clocking in at 16:41 and 21:39 respectively) which meander from one riff to the next with fluid grace and effortless timing. Opening track “Orcus’ Avarice” has an initial jam feel to it, but plays out like a road “trip” through your subconscious, while title track “Neptune With Fire” takes the listener on the cosmic journey of a mythical character and the trials and tribulations inherent in that journey. Each of these tracks plays out like multiple songs meshed together with instrumental interludes, reminiscent of stoner doom bands like Sleep, Green Milk From the Planet Orange and Sons of Otis. Although elements of doom metal are present in Neptune With Fire, this album is not predominantly “doom” in nature. By fusing styles and genres, Ancestors owe more “props” to Pink Floyd than Black Sabbath, with their organ and vocal work giving this album a modern classic feel. Add to that some of the most intricate and sweeping guitar and bass work, “textural incarnations” and drumming second to none and this one album holds more power and grace than most artists scrape together in a whole career. With sludge factors set on high, Neptune With Fire takes the pure enjoyment of riff soaked nods to the past and breaths new life into a genre set adrift by speed and repetition. By Grimm “Bongwater” Culhane
The Acacia Strain Continent Prosthetic Records The Acacia Strain’s fourth studio release Continent is by far one of the heaviest albums to be released this summer. You’re going to be hard pressed to find another album or band for that matter, that is as angry lyrically or that creates such a sludgy, low sound even during ferocious, fast-paced riffs. This shit is seriously intense! The intro track “Skynet” starts off with a pretty basic riff but as soon as Vincent kicks in with his soul-darkening vocals, the whole thing turns into a mind-fuck; Kevin (drums) drops the tempo and DL (guitar) and Jack (Bass) follow suit, creating a sound suggestive of a giant industrial machine slowly grinding to a halt. Then, just when you’re accustomed to the deliberate, brutally slow riff, DL comes in like a bat out of hell (so sorry for the Meatloaf reference) and the machine starts turning once again. “Skynet” is definitely among the best songs on the album. Overall, Continent plays solid and deadly the entire way through. Some nice touches include the melodic guitar parts sewn into the low-down and dirty riffs. These little shreds of melody affect the tone of songs such as “Cthulhu” and “JFC” because they come across subtle amongst the dominant heavy riffs. Another nice touch is the variation in vocal style found on the track “Baby Buster.” Vincent chose the perfect track to switch it up on, as it offers a nice break in the somewhat repetitive low vocal style that’s found on 95% of this album. No slight intended, he’s a stellar vocalist, but the tone is basically the same the entire way through and it’s nice to have something unexpected tossed in their just to keep everybody on their toes. Continent is set to hit the shelves August 19, 2008. Be sure to make a pilgrimage to your local metal “record” shop and pick up a hard-copy of this album. See you in the pit, motherfuckers! By Alxs Ness
Gnarls Barkley The Odd Couple Downtown Music/Atlantic Records Gnarls Barkley, the geniuses behind 2006’s brilliant St. Elsewhere, return with their sophomore album The Odd Couple… and there was much rejoicing! Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo Green have taken all the elements that made their initial release such a success (including the film projector sound at the beginning and end of the album), turned them slightly on their ear and have produced an album of comparable if not superior quality. A bit more sombre than their debut, The Odd Couple plays out like the perfect Bside to St. Elsewhere, even if record sales don’t back up that fact. Its sad to think that great bands like Gnarls Barkley are being driven out of existence by the fans themselves who use peer to peer networking and bit torrents to download albums rather than spend good money on good music. Cee-Lo himself (in a recent interview with HIPHOP DX) expressed the desire to do one more album under this current moniker so not to be “summed up” by Gnarls Barkley (a similar sentiment he expressed about Goodie Mob). Sixty’s Go-Go beats, Cee-Lo’s distinct vocals, deeper self reflective lyrics and Danger Mouse’s superior production sensibilities put The Odd Couple far above most rival discs in both sound and song quality. I defy anyone to try “not” to move when “Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)” starts playing or not picture miniskirts, long hair and go-go boots when “Whatever” or “Surprise” blast out. More serious songs like “Charity Case” and “No Time Soon” compel the listener to actually “listen” to the lyrics as Cee-Lo seeks self redemption through self reflection, something we all can relate to even if its something we fail to do or recognize in ourselves. Consummate song writers through and through, Gnarls Barkley do not disappoint with The Odd Couple. Even though its sombre tone may turn some listeners off, there’s definitely enough here to keep serious music listeners more than satisfied. By Grimm “Natural Disaster” Culhane
NIM VIND The Fashion of Fear Nv Music David Bowie goes disco Danzig and gets pummeled by a lolly-gaggle of 70’s punks and a flock of seagulls. True story. These boys have got this musical situation dialed. Every game is played here. They rock the wheedly-wheedly on “Outsiders”. They blow out melodies that pit Cindy Lauper against the Crash Test Dummies, and fisticuffs are unavoidable. The clash that occurs sets off infectious sparks that will light your ass on fire and make you dance all the way to the proverbial well into which you will plummet in an attempt to douse the flame, only to find yourself hopelessly stranded with little Timmy in a dank, dark and dirty dungeon. Nim Vind may have sent you there, but they will bring you back with uplifting buckets of blistering classic punk guitars infused with incomprehensible cacophony (please refer to “The Fashion of Fear” 0:55 – 1:01; brilliant) and reverberating retro rippage. Then, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you stumble over “The Bitter End”, an acoustic ballad that features gang whistling and all the old west wonder of a black, star speckled sky. Then Kooper Kain kicks in his two bits with two electro-iconic collab-bonus tracks to take your trip out to lunch in the halls of flamboyantly dressed radioactive monks. The Fashion of Fear is a dark marriage of music that should be celebrated by all sun-fearing citizens, which is all of us. Make no mistake; the sun will one day consume us should we be so lucky to survive as a species for another few billion years (This is not likely.) In the meantime let us enjoy the mythical musings of a few foresighted individuals, the meticulously mopped up blood trio that is NIM VIND. By ninjoelspy
Cradle To Grave Texas Medicine Year of The Sun Southern Fried, shit-kicker metal… Canadian style. Board-monger Devin Townsend (Lamb of God , GWAR, Strapping Young Lad) has once again managed to envelope the intensity of the local lads in Cradle To Grave as they churn out an opus that is nothing short of brilliant Produced by the “Grimmer Twins,” unlike Mick and “Keef” these two have an obvious musical bond that supersedes a majority of (Canadian) songwriting duos out there. Power to them. Transplanted from Montreal, guitarist Denis Barthe has an irreverent and simplistic edge on the standard guitar lick, and given his long time history in the metal scene there is certainly no lack of enthusiasm. The vocal styling’s of Greg Cavanagh are prominent and procure the ears of any true metalhead, from the get-go. Track s like the punk edged “Fuck It Up” and “Broken God” make for a lovely Sunday afternoon with thy headphones securely placed on ones head. Any one over the age of 30 or who grew up listening to real NWOBHM mixed with a little Molly Hatchet may find themselves engaging in a tremulous head nod for weeks to come. Let the ear bleeding commence. By E.S. Day
N.E.R.D. Seeing Sounds UMG Synesthesia is both a physiological and poetical concept; it implies the crossing of the senses, like numbers being perceived as inherently colored or as the case may be, seeing sounds. Although listening to the rock and hip-hop fusion of N.E.R.D’s latest album may be confusing to the senses, there is little lyrical quality to inspire sensory appreciation of any kind. The Neptunes (N.E.R.D. members Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) may be one of the tightest production teams of this era: Britney Spears, Nelly and Justin Timberlake all coasted to number one status with Neptunes beats. Along with Shay Haley, the trio’s first two albums, In Search Of… and Fly or Die both were progressive in their attempts to fuse genres and even in the fact that all of the members learned instruments to play on the second album. Seeing Sounds is disappointingly different in its sameness and contains few new ideas or styles. The album is catchy if nothing else; the characteristic synth lines, snares and chanted or falsetto hooks are all present. Pharrell’s voice is interesting to listen to and its imperfections give character to words that are candidly unpoetic. “Love Bomb” is sappy and soulful, “Don’t need another love song, we need a love bomb,” while “You Know What” has an eighties pop beat and an unapologetic sexual agenda: “Nobody made me cum like you, I just roll over…” There’s a cocaine critique along with horn samples (Everybody Nose) and relationship talk along with outrageous guitar solos (It’s Over). Seeing Sounds has a familiar feel to it; it does little to distinguish itself from previous N.E.R.D. efforts but at the same is fun to listen to for that very reason. By Amalia Nickel
Valient Thorr Immortalizer Volcom Entertainment Enough about the 70’s already! Oh sure, they were great in their own mixed up, bell bottom, mood ring, sexual revolution kind of way, but who can forget the Energy Crisis, Richard Nixon, Kent State and all the trappings of the “Me” decade? Its time to move on people! Take your contraceptive pills, join a hippy commune and don’t forget your cocaine at the disco may not be the type of advice your mother gives you now a days, but she probably wasn’t first in line for Led Zeppelin tickets either… or was she? Fortunately trends are like visitors to a Nevada brothel, they come and they go. Judge for yourself the importance of the 70’s and you’ll always come back to one single surviving significance, the music. With the rash of 70’s sounding bands out there today its hard to separate the influences from the rip-offs. Give me the choice of a modern “throw back” who can actually “throw down” and I’ll give you the name of one band, Valient Thorr. Stranded on Earth because Walt Disney stole their time machine 21 years earlier, Eidan, Voiden and Lucian Thorr, along with Dr. Professor Nitewolf Strangees and Valient Himself, continue doing what they do best, and that’s kicking supreme ass! The boys outdo themselves on this their fourth album, Immortalizer, by packing this baby with more vintage, hard, stoner, psychedelic mayhem than ever! The illegitimate children of Alice Cooper sounding “Tomorrow Police,” the Ted Nugent cross-bow to the chops of “Parable of Daedalus,” the Steve Miller when he shuts the fuck up sound of “Vernal Equinox;” the list of comparisons could go on and on, but screw that noise; this disc is pure Valient Thorr through and through. Considering my mood ring remains a consistent black in colour (so I know it still works) and judging from Valient Thorr’s latest slab of righteousness, perhaps the 70’s weren’t all that shitty after all. By Grimm “Thorr” Culhane
The Jolts Haute Voltage Haute Voltage Records If, like many of our readers, you are a fan of The Jolts, then you have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The moment of having Haute Voltage running through your veins. Let me tell you, it’s worth the wait. The Jolts come at you with eleven hot tracks of blasting rock ‘n roll that’ll make you want to shake your ass. The album is chock full of fire breathing guitar leads that will burn down small villages, lyrics that’ll make girls cry, and pounding drums played with two murderous sticks. These songs are going to make you want to pop pills, drive fast and beat the piss out of anyone who get’s in your way. The opening track “Hey, Alright” is an epically catchy tune, while “An Electric Testimonial” is a fast furious song with a great sing-a-long chorus. Now, if this isn’t enough for you there is a piano solo on “The Bar Again.” A fucking piano solo! It’s played by that guy with the stumps for legs and little half sized arms that can be found on the corner of Georgia and Granville at Christmas time. Ok, I don’t think he played it, but wouldn’t that be cool? The boys have re-recorded “Bloody Eye Socket,” which was originally featured on The Jinx EP, and they’ve beefed it up with an extra lead guitar lick that is magical. It’s amazing what a few different notes can do. The final track on the album is quite the finisher. “Why Do You Do Me (Like You Do)?” has catchy “whoa’s” that will get stuck in your head as you make your way to the grocery store to bring home some eggs and milk for the Missis. When you show up with a copy of Haute Voltage for her instead, she’ll be pleasantly surprised. Now we are only halfway through 2008 but I will make the bold statement of saying that this could very well be the punk album of the year…and probably next year too. By Denis Malle
D-Sisive The Book Urbnet Records D’s come a long way since Popped, where DJ Serious unleashed his hilariously comic disdain for early 2000’s record industry types. His distinctive T-dot whiteboy cadence has gone from funny to serious in response to some real shit dropping in his life - namely the death of first his mother then father. The darkness and melancholy introspection caused by these experiences has D-Sisive opening The Book with “Intro (the story of an artist)” - a paean to unappreciated artists growing old. “Brian Wilson” bumps a bit harder, but continues the theme of self-indulgent depression with lines like “I wish that I was younger”. “Ambulance,” features Tom Waits on a typically husky, growling chorus and D rhyming over crazy janky guitars and percussion reminiscent of Waits’ Bone Machine. It’s interesting for a Hip Hop track, but not particularly effective. D’s in better form on “ThisIsWhatItSoundsLikeWhenWhiteBoysListenToHopHop,” dropping his usually sarcastic and humorous lines over a funky guitar loop, breaking down and satirizing stereotypes in a self deprecating way. “Up” is his attempt to rise out of the wreckage and seek inspiration in positivity. Art may be the best form of therapy, but that doesn’t mean that therapy always produces great art. The Book is so saturated with D-Sisive’s self-pity and palpable despair that it is something of a difficult listen, one which doesn’t necessarily lead to a cathartic experience. Lacking the qualities of humour, sarcasm and vivd imagery that marked his earlier work, The Book comes off too much as an album made for the artist’s own satisfaction, without elevating his experiences to an everyman’s perspective that others can relate too. It shows a great deal of potential in D-Sisive as an artist maturing beyond the limitations of his earlier sound and style, but as a work in itself it feels patchy, and too relentlessly focussed on D’s own misfortune to come up with any truly profound insights. Better luck next time… By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
The New Odds Cheerleader Pheromone Recordings I really wanted to love this album. I’ve always wanted these guys to be great. I fondly recall watching The Dawn Patrol at The Roxy before they hit it as The Odds. They were the best cover band ever. Their time as The Odds provided a few highlights that won some of my student loan money. And I’m glad they’ve made good - just check their Wikipedia entry. Their new album as The New Odds - a moniker that makes me smirk, thinking about Spinal Tap incarnation ‘The New Originals’ - starts off well, but apart from a few tracks never really rises. Right out of the gate they knock you back with “Cloud Full of Rocks” - which rocks and reflects too much of my past… I’ve dated that woman, it seems. The inertia flows straight through “Write it in Lightning,” but by the time the third track (the IMHO misguided single) “My Happy Place” comes along, it’s all starting to sound like Toad the Wet Sprocket & The Northern Pikes at their un-inspired worst, and I’m not paying any attention anymore. “Jumper” pulls me back in, but it’s a long wait with only some occasional wit (the purile lyric “look at the piece of tail on the mermaid girl” leaps out) to lift it anywhere above the same songs they were writing in the early 90s… and why wouldn’t I rather listen to “Wendy Under the Stars” or “Heterosexual Man” instead - they at least have nostalgia value. To be fair, I think I’m more disappointed that I’m disappointed than genuinely disappointed. Sigh. Perhaps their greatest feat was always destined to be a wicked live version of Radar Love in a bar packed with University students on Granville. By Kennedy Goodkey
The Offspring Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace Sony/BMG It is damning with faint praise to say that Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace is the best album The Offspring have produced in a decade. Here is a band that has consistently appeared to record the same material repeatedly since their break out album, the record breaking Smash in 1994. Can they really be blamed? They do their unmistakable mix of skate-punk, post-grunge & ska with (ahem) virtuosity. The consequent range of their cannon doesn’t leave a lot of scope for differentiation between the ‘good’ and the ‘bad,’ resulting in a long period of stale releases. Did “Hit That” really manage to go anywhere that “Original Prankster” didn’t? Likewise from “Original Prankster” back to “Pretty Fly”? For year’s their best output was covers of The Police and The Ramones. So what makes R&G, R&F a return to form for a band whose biggest liability has been their lack of ability to extend beyond their established formula? More than anything, Dexter Holland’s lyrics have finally grown up. Once upon a time, his sarcastic insight was part of the hallmark that lifted The Offspring above the pack. How many mid 20s guys didn’t feel like they had shamefully shared the same girl-friend depicted in “Self-esteem”? But from there, though the wit remained, the content didn’t do much to mature… until now. This is an Offspring album for former punk-rock kids who are now raising their own kids - who live in defiance of their parent’s version of outrage. This is a nostalgic sounding album for a generation, now approaching forty who are following the 2008 election with trepidation, who are still angered by the world they’ve inherited and frustrated at their limited ability to set it right after all these years. Thank god it’s fun to listen to The Offspring again. How refreshing. By Kennedy Goodkey
Tanya Morgan The Bridge EP IM Culture Tanya Morgan may be a pretty silly name for a rap trio, but this is some dope shit that’s been making heads turn since their Moonlighting debut drew praise from XXL, The Source, and made Questlove’s 2006 top ten list. Comprised of Cincinnati duo Ilwill (Donwill and Ilyas), and Brooklyn MC/Producer Von Pea, Tanya Morgan compare favourably to the “True School” sounds of Little Brother, heavily influenced by the positive vibes and everyman realism of De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. The Bridge Ep is intended to serve as a bridge between the trio’s former work and the upcoming full-length release of “Brooklynati” It also references the file sharing techniques used to create Moonlighting when the group still occupied different cities. Saturated with compressed soul samples, and featuring the distinctively syncopated stylings of three highly skilled MC’s, this EP is like a satisfying snack that’s wholesome but spicy, each element carefully arranged to be savoured by Hip Hop connoisseurs. Track one The Bridge feat. Elucid rocks over a catchy Hammond Organ sample with shuffling percussion and brilliant, behind the beat flows laying out the blueprints for this meeting of minds. Filthier Interlude AKA “Place” calls to mind Mr. Hood-era KMD, with a 60’s R+B sample and MC’s rocking to a faster pace. Bonus track How Low with production by Mysterious Productions bumps an 80’s electro beat that should appeal to all the scarf wearing club kids, but with lazy rhymes and a mediocre chorus (”how low can you go?”), hopefully this is just an experimental diversion. Mostly though, this is an enjoyable album, and Tanya Morgan definitely sound better when talking about real life than when trying to make club bangers. With a wide range of styles and a focus on cultivating an original sound and identity, expect to hear great things from this dedicated trio. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Elephant Man Let’s Get Physical Bad Boy Records At least you know what you’re in for with the cover - a red haired Elephant Man with the requisite bling (watch, rings and Jesus piece…) acting the part of personal trainer for three gold bikinied dancehall queens. Executive produced by none other than P. Diddy, this is clearly El-Man’s attempt to break through into a larger North American audience. The first two tracks tread familiar dancehall ground. “Drop Dead” rocks double time and “Dem Nah Ready” kicks the typical misogyny over the classic “whoomp whoomp” - adequate tracks that establish the over-amped tempos and larger than life attitude that characterize the genre. “Feel the Stream” (featuring Chris Brown) and “Throw Your Hands Up” (featuring Rihanna) shift the vibe to sugary teen pop mixed with Elephant’s perverted flow, Rihanna’s hook is the more radio friendly of the two. Wyclef and Diddy step in on the slower, more roots-based “Five-O,” a welcome diversion that attests to Elephant’s gangster status. Swizz Beatz track on “Jump” is an almost unbearably basic series of sounds that slam without any concept of swing or groove, one of the worst beats I have heard in ages. Even Busta Rhymes and Shaggy can’t enliven a deadbeat wanna be banger like “The Way We Roll.” It’s as though they’ve all become way too comfortable in these beats and don’t even try to come up with exciting flows. Whereas in North America, it often seems as though “street” or “gangsta” MC’s have the better flows while “conscious” artists usually don’t. Maybe in Jamaica the opposite principle is in effect - for all their fanatical fundamentalist beliefs, no-one can say that Sizzla and Capleton don’t have unique and inventive styles. With all the high-profile collabs, Elephant Man is clearly shooting for a larger, Hip-Hop/Pop audience, but as much as I love dancehall in it’s purest forms, this album is just too basic and uninteresting to break through. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Magnus Rising Counting the Numbers Independent Born in 2002, like many an act before them (via bored musicians answering posters precariously strewn throughout the city), St. John, Newfoundland’s power metal quartet, Magnus Rising have since relocated to the growing musical hotbed that is Vancouver. Deciding to gruelingly trudge along in their musical conquest after a fire destroyed the majority of their equipment, Magnus Rising deliver straight ahead power metal, slower than similar acts in the genre, but ferociously energetic nonetheless, passion dripping from every note. Their debut full-length, recorded at Factory and produced by Doug Mix, kicks off with an almost seven minute metal opus bequeathed with the album’s title, Counting the Numbers. “Whoever said ‘we only really die once’ never really lived,” proclaims a heart wrenching ballad, “From the Ashes,” in which guitars whine and the music seems to bleed. But in very metal way. Fuck you. Amongst the standout tracks: the extremely danceable thrasher “Shallow End,” the groove laden “Crisis” and the involuntary headbanger “Evidence In Safety.” Showing extreme versatility, the melodic album weaves its way from torturous ballads to blistering hair-swinging romps and is undeniably sincere. By Kristina Mameli
Whitechapel This Is Exile Metal Blade Fuck Yea! Pure gut stomping, eardrum flattening mindfuck: This Is Exile, Whitechapel’s second full-length release. Seriously, these people have only been together a mere two years and they have already created an album that plays solid and engaging the entire way through. From the first to the last, these tracks grab your attention like the rotted flesh, skeletal grip of a vengeful corpse risen from the dead…. Or something along those lines. The opening track “Father of Lies” sets the pace; no intro, no easing into it-fuck that-this song is all about brutal riffs, drums that don’t let up and vocals that alternate between extremely low, guttural growls and harsh, piercing demon screams. That’s actually one of the immediately noticeable traits of This Is Exile; their vocalist Phil Bozeman is not only very versatile in his screams, but even during his lowest vocals, you can still make out what he’s saying, at least for the most part. Another thing you’ll notice right away is the low, impenetrable wall of sound created by Ben Savage (guitar), Alex Wade (guitar), Zach Householder (guitar), Gabe Crisp (bass) and Kevin Lane (drums). Yea, that’s right; the boys from Knoxville, Tennessee are a six-piece. They’ve managed to pull off what many bands attempt and fail miserably at; to incorporate three guitars and yet maintain a clean sound that evolves and changes swiftly without ever sounding muddied or overdone. Throw Gabe and Kevin into the mix and you have an extremely dense yet unpredictable combination that is sure to make you shit your pants and that is just the recorded version; imagine what these guys are like live. If you live in the States or Canada you will have a chance to catch Whitechapel on the Summer Slaughter tour. Be sure to visit their merch table while you’re at it and pick up a copy of This Is Exile. You definitely won’t regret it!! By Alxs Ness
Everlast Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford Martyr Inc/Sony Undoubtedly, one of his best releases to date, Everlast once again displays his magnetic skills on both the mic (see this Usinger?) and the guitar. Of course we are referring to him spitting rhymes more than singing, as he is best known for dropping verses alongside Ice-T, House of Pain and currently with his former band mates in the Super-group La Coka Nostra (including Ill Bill and Necro). Almost from out of nowhere he has resurfaced with the Love, War and the Ghost of Whitey Ford platter with his unique stamp of backwoods blues influence, craftily combining rock and hip-hop. Soulful and honest, this is what enables his natural ability to churn out a decent hit track. Especially when you turnout a impeccable version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” plop it on top of Cypress Hill’s “Insane In The Brain” and you my friend are prepared to start drinking heavily. Everlast’s own Martyr Inc. imprint has more than likely given him the freedom to write how he sees fit, not to mention a proper direction. This will more than likely give the public an in depth understanding of him. In our recent interview with Everlast in Issue 7, he talks about doing little mash-ups here and there and is now currently engaged in studio work once again, with Soul Assassin # 1 - DJ Muggs. The Grammy winning singer songwriter and multi–talented musician should be able to keep his head well above water with this album, from his legion of loyal fans and hopefully some new ones. By E.S. Day
Mad Shadow Mad Shadow Independent Mad Shadow’s self-t debut is a ten track fl kind of guitar driven, hard-rock sounds tha Sabbath, Led Zeppel helped to originate ba 70’s. For those who s drix, The Doors, Zep that new music was b same heart and passio the day, check out thi band. Every song on nal, full of heavy gro style guitar solos, and vocals that will have you’re caught in som inducing acid flashba Mad Shadow consist (vocals), Danny Svei Mcdonald (drums) an (bass). Originally for Sveinson (acclaimed who’s been playing g ally since the age of 1 moves beyond the hy Danny (now 15) and the exceptional talen young, up and comin like “White Lies,” “R “Mad Shadow” soun a seasoned band of o roll veterans, not that guys who have only barely over a year. While they definitely classic, signature sou moments where thing familiar. For example in the song “Living i you swear Jim Morri grabbed the mic. Not too much, Erik Olufs vocalist whose unwa soulful voice is alrea that would make man vocalists more than j There are times, how like he may be chann ert Plant just a little t all criticisms aside its guys are staying true they love and are not it for the sake of selli it up boys! By Alxs Ness
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Melvins Nude With Boots Ipecac Records Kings of cerebral chaos-core (a.k.a the Melvins) return to familiar “clothing optional” stomping grounds with their latest release Nude With Boots. Sporting the same lineup as their previous album (A) Senile Animal (including Jared Warren and Coady Willis of Big Business), Nude With Boots allows King Buzzo and Dale Crover to prove, beyond a shadow of a fucking doubt, that 20+ years into their amazing musical career, they still remain one of the most dynamic and unique bands in existence. Bottom scraping bass, duel drums-agogo, guitars up to twelve (fuck eleven!) and Buzzo’s stereophonic vocals will pierce right to the very core of your jelly spine, leaving you a puddle of goo large enough to piss your roommates off when they attempt to stumble around you all hung-over the next morning. I mean this shit is tight! Like its predecessor, Nude With Boots highlights the might and majesty that are the Melvin’s trademarks. Eleven songs of heavy fucking grooves that take the cookie cutter childishness of today’s popular music, kick it square in the balls and send it home to Mum with a note telling her to “STOP BREEDING!” Fitting Nude With Boots into the library of Melvin’s recordings is no easy task. First there’s the sonic ramblings of “Dog Island,” which would be just at home on Bullhead as it is here. Then there’s “Dies Iraea” (a famous thirteenth century Latin hymn), which sounds like Ennio Morricone after too much mescaline. “Suicide In Progress” is about as accessible as the Melvins get here, rivaling anything on Stoner Witch as far as pure discombobulation and songwriting mayhem goes. Finally, the title track “Nude With Boots” shows the boys in all their demented glory, with two minutes of instrumental wanking before the vocals even kick in. Pumping them out faster than a barefoot Catholic mother these days, the Melvins have put together yet another disc worthy of your feeble pop encrusted eardrums. With the imminent release of Nude With Boots only one question remains, are you worthy of the Melvins? By Grimm “Electroretard” Culhane
Judas Priest Nostradamus Epic/SonyBMG Bobby H. & The JP’s have gone and done the improbable: a 2-disc concept album. As you know, concept albums are for musicians who cannot write a regular album, thus blanketing the foul stench of un-originality and blatant laziness in the songwriting department. It seems Glen, K.K. and the rest of the tribe have done the un-doable. They have set themselves up with a weak attempt at drumming up enough sales to garner a call from every talent buyer in every market in North America, even before waving a white flag at the European Festival Producers for any and every available slot known to man and metal in 2008. Ironically the Lita Ford track “Run With The $” was playing in the background after my third attempt at reviewing this monstrosity of a metal mess. Running with it is exactly what they are doing and I don’t expect to hear from Judas Priest for awhile after the touring season dies down… along with the publics respect. After throwing my copy of Nostradamus into our CD donation box (which we give to underprivileged kids in Vancouver), it was decided that that was the right thing to do and something good has to come out of this. Even the diehards are complaining and hocking their CDs to put the money behind some overpriced concert tickets. Like one giant song that doesn’t know where its going, there is nothing even remotely close to the shivering up the spine you can still find after a listen to “Exciter” from Stained Class, or the title track from Painkiller with Scott Travis going balls out. There’s not even a radio friendly track like half of British Steel to complain about. It’s just that simple. This release can only be summed up as the only legit reason to hit the road without looking like you need to hit the road. Too bad Nostradamus did not predict that as well. By E.S. Day
Earache “My Eye” (hed) p.e. The D.I.Y. Guys
Various Artists MVD Visual Earache’s re-release of their 1999 music video compilation My Eye could not have come at a better time. With so many newer metal bands around it’s nice to take a look at some old school heavy hitters who have had a major influence on them. It is also a pretty smart move on Earache’s part considering that many of these artists have been disbanded for over a decade and some of this material is considered rare. Favorably, My Eye offers diversity in band styles and video content. Despite the differences, the 90’s vibe runs strong the entire way through; repetitive, straightforward riffs, industrial influences, Dr. Marten boots and low-budget video production. The only disclaimer I would offer before viewing this compilation is not to expect anything more then what it claims to be: a collection of music videos from the 90’s. That is to say, there aren’t any special features or reworkings to be found on this one. Arguably, the “low-budget” feel of the DVD stays true to the times and allows the videos and songs to stand on their own. For those of us who grew up in the nineties, this compilation offers some pretty intense flash-backs. Some highlights include Godflesh’s “Crush My Soul” and At the Gates’ “Blinded by Fear.” “Crush my Soul” starts the compilation with scenes of roosters being prepped for a cockfight. The intensity of these scenes permeates through the entire video and helps to increase the intensity of the track itself. “Blinded by Fear,” in hindsight, seems like a strong precursor to where metal has gone within this decade. Plus, who does not love seeing a woman grinding a power tool on her cod piece…seriously… By Alxs Ness Suburban Noize With the East Coast being the predominate ruler of all things Rapcore, the crew at L.A. based Suburban Noize Records have certainly found a way to keep the genre alive with a visually debauched compilation of live concert footage from crossover kings (hed) p.e. Captured live from Hollywood’s Key Club, we are treated to 13 tracks that clearly shows their surroundings and why and how the ultimate mash up of Metal, Punk Hip-Hop and Hardcore have come together into a melting pot of aggressive and rebellious sub-genres. Tracks from their current Insomnia album are showcased, plus Singer/MC, activist and blunt-blazing ogre Jared sports a ghastly coat of face paint, coupled with his angry verses and the bands more than competent ability to pound out the old school beats, they throw in an Rob Zombie Clone on the “1’s & 2’s” and we have one hell of a visual ride Could do without the “skits” mind you, may appeal to some, but if album skits drive you nuts a DVD version may have you fast forwarding to the meat of the matter. Still worth purchasing for the live footage and the bonus cuts. It’s a masochistic mash-up of L.A. Hip-Hop Gangsters Vs. NYC Hardcore punks, with a slight nod the dark side… and it feels just right Tracklisting: 1. Madhouse 2. Not Ded Yet 3. Game Over 4. Peer Pressure 5. Sophia 6. The Truth 7. RTO 8. Niteclub In Bali 9. Get Em Up 10. War On The Middle Class* 11. Ordo Ab Chao* 12. Bloodfire* 13. Real Talk (Instrumental From DIY Guys DVD) *Previously Unreleased By E.S. Day
Fan of the Dead
Directed by Nicolas Garreau MVD Visual Fans of the Living Dead series rejoice! Although this hour long “documentary” by George A. Romero enthusiast Nicolas Garreau plays out like a French tourist video, there is enough content and interesting “behind the Dead” stories here to satisfy all perambulatory postmortem puritans. Garreau travels all the way from France with his trusty video camera to visit filming locations in the Pennsylvania countryside where the legendary cult classic Living Dead series was shot. Meeting original cast members at the Pittsburgh Comic-Con and asking sophomoric questions in broken English is done one better with visits to shooting locations as well as hands on training with original props from the Living Dead movies. A definite find for the comic book minded, marvel as Nicolas and a large group of “Dead” enthusiasts are taken on a guided tour of the basement featured in Night of the Living Dead. Ooo and awe as your faithful narrator and videographer roams through the Monroeville Ma featured in Dawn of the Dead. Bust off the top of your head and spray blood everywhere as bus load after bus load of people who still live with their parents roam the military base where soldiers and scientists hid out the zombie apoca lypse in Day of the Dead. Its all here, in glorious… colour? Save yourself the cost of a stay in a Pittsburgh hostel and a potential nasty death when the dead roam the Pennsyl vania countryside once again by enjoying this video in the comfort of your own home. Although there is no actual footage from the Living Dead films themselves, this is still a decent companion to Mr. Romero’s masterworks even if Mr Garreau’s English is hard to understand at times. By Grimm “Dead Looking” Culhane
Lamb of God
Walk With Me In Hell Epic/SonyBMG Lamb of God’s newest DVD release, Walk with Me in Hell is a straightforward, gritty portrayal of the band after Sacrament (their newest CD released in 2006). This double-disc set contains two feature length documentaries as well as a complete performance from the 2006 Download Festival. Both discs delve into the mannerisms and personalities of Randy, Chris, Willie, John and Mark and the contributions that each member makes to the group. In true Lamb of God fashion, the world is let in to see the many setbacks that were encountered on tour as well as the personal issues that they had to face while trying to work together. What makes Walk With Me In Hell a standout against similar band documentaries, besides the incredible live footage, is that you get a strong sense of the reality of life in this band, as opposed to hyped up drama. In addition, the editing and production of the DVD itself is professionally done. Much effort has been put in by the band and staff to give this DVD a professional, film-like feel. Disc one reveals the grueling, two-year touring regimen that L.O.G undertook in support of Sacrament. Crossing the world three times over, we are given a behind the scenes look at the blood, sweat and tears necessary to make a tour go smoothly (or not, in some cases). From the excitement and adrenaline of the Unholy Alliance, Megadeth and Ozzfest shows, to their not-so-exciting experience with the Heaven and Hell tour, it is a roller coaster ride the whole way through and not a detail is spared. As well, we get to see the lengths in which the boys must sometimes go in order to entertain themselves while on the road; some of this shit is downright hilarious! The second disc starts off with a look at the writing process for Sacrament. In the beginning stages we’re able to witness ideas and riffs slowly coming together. For musicians, the opportunity to see how some of these killer songs take shape is really interesting. Once the songs are basically formed, the camera then takes us into the studio for the pre-production sessions with Machine (who also produced Ashes of the Wake). Watching Machine work with each member and sometimes seeing them battle it out (not literally) over certain ideas is really cool. All in all Walk With Me in Hell is very entertaining and easy to watch. Whether you’re a die-hard L.O.G fan or just enjoy observing some crazy guys doing some crazy shit, this DVD set is definitely a must have for any metalhead. .
Black and Gold
Directed by Rick Rowley Big Noise Films For all the strugglers and sufferers of whatever origin, this film is an inspirational kick in the ass to rise up and unify in the face of oppression. This is the story of the Latin Kings - who in 1994 made the transformation from NYC’s largest street gang, into the Latin King and Queen Nation - a revolutionary socialist organization dedicated to uplifting community and influenced by the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. Through interviews with members and spokespeople like King Tone and Puerto Rican revolutionary Richie Perez, the word is made flesh - the story of the marginalized Latin community in the US and the government approved program of self -destruction through gang violence and internal conflict. Most surprising is the local priest who, embracing the King and Queen Nation and casting it in a Biblical perspective references Jesus - “who lived in the ghetto just as you all do for thirty years, and when he took his Nation downtown…they killed him in three weeks!”. When minority people are engaged in a lethal struggle for survival that keeps them from manifesting their own destiny, Uncle Sam is A-OK, but when the same community rallies around socialist principles and restructures for autonomy, you know he’s bringing in the big guns - and thus the Nation was subjected to one of the biggest roundups in American “history” - over ninety Latin Kings were arrested on various trumped up charges, with founder King Blood given one of the most outrageous sentences ever - life with no parole, with a minimum of 45 years solitary confinement ! What is truly inspiring to me is that the Nation is one of the most visibly multi-racial communities I’ve seen, with Kings and Queens ranging from black to white to Hispanic to Asian looking (by American visual race categorization standards anyway), with the common bond of language, community and culture that bonds them as family and separates them from Anglo America’s self-righteous insanity. If you want to hear inspired and inspiring words from youth and elders in a community that has more to say and more depth of feeling than can be put in the dirty language of the English overlords, then watch Black and Gold, and watch it again. Ultimately it’s all about Amor del Rei - King’s Love, the meaning of which is obvious in the eyes of all the King’s - men who have faced death, oppression, and destruction both internal and external, and have used it to become something so much greater. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
By Alxs Ness
Heaven and Hell
Live From Radio City Music Hall 2007 Rhino Records Once upon a time (between the years of 1968 and 1979) there was a little band called Black Sabbath, and it was good. During this time fairies wore boots behind the wall of sleep while sweet leaf was enjoyed under the sun and every day came and went. A hole in the sky developed (due to the thrill of it all), and megalomania became a symptom of the universe. A rock ‘n roll doctor was called in amidst cries of “you won’t change me,” but the shockwave was too great and a hard road became almost impassible, leaving the band to lament their situation at the cross roads between heaven and hell. Although never say die was on everyone’s lips, the end seemed imminent. Fortunately an impish gnome by the name of Ronnie James Dio came along (between the years of 1979 and 1982) and breathed new life into the band by successfully conjuring the children of the sea from the wishing well and convincing all that to die young was not an option. Although only two albums were produced during this time, legions of loyal fans were transfixed by their voodoo and all doubt was removed from the minds of fools as to the fact that the mob still rules! Fast forward to 2007 and the Rhino Records DVD release of Heaven and Hell - Live from Radio City Music Hall. Like a step back in time through the shadow of the wind, Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice, re-assemble (as Heaven and Hell) at New York’s most famous theatre and collectively recreate some of the most memorable musical moments in Sabbath history. Falling off the edge of the world never sounded (nor looked) so good, for this is one of the most impressive concert videos you’re ever likely to see. Doubtlessly, the Devil cried under the sign of the Southern cross as he watched these neon knights go through their iconic paces, defying all naysayers and afore mentioned fools for whom lonely is the “only” word. Fans, roadies and band members themselves get a chance to turn up the night in some informative, poignant and down right hilarious short films included in the DVD bonus material. As one ardent and almost rabid fan (aka Lady Evil) succinctly puts it. “we can all relate to evil.” With evil looking and sounding this good, truer words have never been spoken. By Grimm Culhane
Onyx 15 Years of Videos, History and Violence
MVD Visual The original hardcore of Fredro Starr, Sonny Seeza, Big DS and Stick Fingaz bears little resemblance to this blinged out era of fake gangster posturing and materialistic excess, recalling a time of boots, fatigues, blunts and gats with nary a diamond in sight - the only gems being the lyrics screamed from the scorched throats of rappers whose every syllable counts. A time when hardcore meant both Metal and Hip Hop, and fans of both could “Slam” to the sounds of Onyx and Biohazrd. This retrospective DVD features seventeen videos, with bonus commentary by Fredro and Sticky letting us know that those were real guns and real bottles breaking over Sticky’s head (and which of the video vixens they bagged…). The bonus documentary “Underground Funk” features a lot of real blunts, cameos from a very young Ja Rule, Biggie, Nas and others, and enough behind the scenes footage to give a real feel for the Queensbridge way of life in all it’s rugged, backwoods flavoured beauty. These guys came up from the hood for real - financing their early videos themselves and rolling in “real deep…no extras”, carefully tailoring a sound and image of relentless intensity. Later videos like “React” featuring Still Livin’, X-1 and a young 50 Cent, and “The Worst” featuring the Wu Tang Clan get more creative and entertaining with the plotlines and stunts, and “Broke Willies” pushes the silliness a little too far with the Onyx crew all pimped out 70’s style. At least they admit to not liking it themselves in the commentary. Onyx represent a movement in Hip Hop that is street, and yet in their own words “conscious” - conscious of the realities of ghetto life and willing to portray it honestly in their lyrics. The video shoot footage proves that they had mad respect in the streets, and the fact that they refused to cater to the tastes of their time has both kept them from mainstream success and secured them a place in the underground pantheon. I mean, can you imagine “Throw Ya Gunz” dropping in ‘08? People are in a coma these days, it’s probably the syzzurp. Bonus Materials: * Photo Gallery * Slam karaoke * Soul Train Awards footage * Optional audio commentary on all seventeen Onyx music videos. * Exclusive behind the scenes documentary showcasing 15 years of insanity, live performances, music video shoots, interviews, studio sessions, personal moments and freestyles www.onyxdomain.com By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
Directed by Bill Osco Pipeline Productions Written by Phillip P. Pillsburry and directed by Bill Osco, the 1991 film Gross Out is a painfully low-budget story of a disgusting family in California who collectively get off on all that is horrendous or offensive in any way, shape or form. The overall premise of this film is that a wealthy mother challenges her three children to make a film so disgusting that it makes her vomit. Captivated yet? If the idea of throwing 2 Girls 1 Cup on a plate for dinner and serving up Booger from Nerds for dessert makes you hungry, then maybe this is the film for you. Drink it down and enjoy every last putrid drop. I had trouble appreciating the humour due to the fact that this film seemed to have been created by a couple of grade 6 drop-outs. Your eyes may well bleed for a week after dragging yourself through this film. For those of you that would like your cake without having to eat the thing too, I’ll gladly give you a brief character description to chew on. The mother was an overweight Elvira, the daughter was Charles Manson’s failed lobotomy patient and the two sons were the poster child for Tourette’s and a whiner wearing 90’s fluorescent plastic shades. Oh, and we can’t forget the guy who was painted up to be the early 1900’s racially stereotypical black guy. And there I was thinking this flick was shallow. I’m going to keep this review short in hopes that you’ll get my point. Don’t buy this film. Watch it if you are getting paid to do so. In which case, question whether it’d be more productive to spend 82 minutes pondering what the owner of the national chain of Osco Drug stores was thinking when directing a piece of crap like this. By Russ Foxx russfoxx.com
Joe Strummer The Future Is Unwritten
Directed by Julien Temple Sony BMG After the fact that The Clash had taken its toll on Strummer (both through touring and recording), his heart was ultimately with music and his inert ability at touching peoples souls was something that had to be cherished after indulging is this; a lengthy documentary of the singer/songwriter’s journey. Taken back to his childhood in which his mother’s musical influence took a grasp of his “unwritten future,” his attendance at a Mexican School and the cultural meeting of the minds are displayed as The Clash is formed, chopped and processed by the North American media and manipulated by its greed for a new and satisfying market. The Sex Pistols had died down and without a doubt The Clash and Strummers’ attitude had indeed arrived in America, fed up with the mendacious media hype that shrouded the band themselves, Strummer had no intention of letting the same happen to him nor The Clash with his public display of vituperation. Celebrity thoughts around a campfire are interwoven throughout, and of course, some would have been better off being stuck on the end of a twig and held over the open flame (Matt Dillon, John Cusack). Martin Scorsese pokes his head in to say hello, we are enlightened on his other pairings including William Burroughs, Ginsberg et al. We’re also taken on a journey were you see The Mescalero’s point of entry, and of course his infamous radio show that ended up recruiting listeners in the millions which had become a sport of turning people on to new and odd music A music scholar in his own right, Strummer himself sums it up at the very end “It’s about finding strange records and learning from them” and for music lovers everywhere, that alone should be the greatest lesson of all . By E.S. Day
Dead Boys Return Of The Living Dead Boys: Halloween Night 1986
MVD Visual More of what you’ve come to expect from the people at MVD Visual with the release of Dead Boys - Return Of The Living Dead Boys: Halloween Night 1986. These guys at MVD just don’t let up (and more power to them)! This time around Dead Boys Stiv, Cheetah, Johnny, Jeff and Jimmy get the cameras pointed at them in a live, rare Halloween performance from 1986 (just like the title says, go figure). Introduced by long time fan and friend Joey Ramone, this live set captures the filth, fury and fascination the Dead Boys produced in their all too short career Filmed at The Ritz in New York City, this is a fitting tribute to the spectacle and talent of one of punk’s true originators. With power riff laden tracks like “High Tension Wire,” “Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth” and “Sonic Reducer” (which they play twice no less) as well as a cover of the Stooges track “Search and Destroy,” the Dead Boys mean business and business is good. Wardrobe changes, stage diving, mullet headed bouncers strong arming costumed fans, skinny white boys singing about “food” (aka “I Need Lunch”), its all here in glorious punk-a-delic colour and slam-a-riffic sound. Cheetah rips through his solos like this is his last gig ever while Stiv paces and addresses the audience on topics ranging from Mama Cass to Johnny Wadd. Although his rants date this video, Stiv is insightful, true and fucking hilarious not only onstage, but in the rare 1980 TV interview included in the bonus features as well. Check out the super rare video for “Sonic Reducer” too. Banging out 17 songs in less than 50 minutes is an impressive task and the Dead Boys make it look effortless. Dead Boys - Return Of The Living Dead Boys: Halloween Night 1986 is definitely another DVD not only suited for punk rock enthusiasts, but any self respecting musician who wants to know how its done correctly By Grimm “Dead Boy” Culhane
MVD Visual Voivod’s first official DVD features videos, live footage and behind the scenes material from the original line-up period of 1983-1991. At just over eighty minutes, this collection showcases Voivod’s development from sci-fi influenced thrash to the neo industrial 90’s prog rock sounds of Nothingface. It is also in a way a tribute to the late great Denis “Piggy” D’Amour (who passed away in 2005 after a long battle with cancer), whose highly unique guitar style (half Alex Lifeson, half Kerry King) is clearly the driving force behind both their live performance and their intricate studio work. Voivod’s progression from straight thrash to their 1989 cover of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd classic “Astronomy Domine” recalls a time when heavy music made forays into both “industrial” and “alternative” sounds, when categories were fluid and bands as diverse as Voivod, Soundgarden, and Faith No More could play to audiences open to a wide range of sounds. The “Astronomy Domine” video broke huge new ground for Voivod and was in regular rotation on Much Music. Much of the aesthetic content of the videos is based on the drawings of Michel “Away” Langevin, whose cartoonishly creepy depictions of a world of nightmare technology and “Ravenous Medicine” evolved from his upbringing in the industrial town of Longueuil, and which gave birth to the very concept of the Voivod - a psychic vampire lurking in the wasteland of humanity’s soul. Bonuses include two live demos - 1984’s “Morgoth Invasion” and ’87’s Montreal Spectrum show, plus behind the scenes footage - more than enough material to satiate even the most devout fan. Look forward to more collections of material from the later incarnations of Voivod, when Eric Forrest took over vocals and fourstring for a time, and when Metallica’s Jason Newsted stepped up to bass. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
(Unrated – Widescreen Ed.)
Directed by Neil Marshall Universal Studios Home Entertainment “Mad Max: Beyond Sherwood Forest”
Monty Python should have had a hand in this as the Holy Grail theme is scattered throughout this odd assortment of blatant attempts at sweeping some plot thievery under the screenwriters (now) filthy little carpet. We have all the makings of a Resident Evil scenario: Set in the future (2035), a virus for which there is no known cure, a copy and paste female hero Rhona Mitra, (with the same attitude, stance and haircut as Milla Jovovich in the Resident Evil series) ) she too- is the only savior and weapons expert, surviving grotesque inhuman beatings, and all the while keeping enough energy, breath and wit to spew out a few one-liners, while in captivity. She was better off being animated in Beowulf Toss in some rejects from the first round of the Sigue Sigue Sputnik auditions and any surviving Plasmatic and you have your villains. Mel Gibson in not in this film, but should have been - since it really is Mad Max but set in Glasgow, Scotland and an already infected, surrounding England.. Not one to complain about the Brits and Scots, they still somewhat pull this off better than it would have been done had it been produced on U.S. soil. Bob Hoskins makes a dim-witted Father figure appearance, as does Malcolm McDowell who should have pulled out a few war tactics from the Guccione version of Caligula just for authenticity sake if anything. It could be Underworld Part. 3 minus the werewolves and Vampires, (ironically, Ms. Mitra is actually starring in the next installment of Underworld) but then the zombie-like mutants are too fast and dodgy like in the “28 Days/Weeks” series. If you need some Hollywood cheese spread on acrimoniously you can count on The Descent director Neil Marshall having copped a feel off of Walter Hill at a drive-in, as the boys gratuitously lift the chase scene (complete with souped-up post- apocalyptic bus) from The Warriors, after they are spotted by the AC Turnbulls. Have 2 TV’s? Play them side by side and watch that in horror. So take it for what it may be worth. More satisfying to watch the original five of the six films that this “borrows” from. Doomsday indeed. BONUS FEATURES : • The Visual Effects of Doomsday • Guns and Gadgets breakdown • Commentary • Surviving the Apocalypse: What to Wear? • How To Use this DVD as a coaster By E.S. Day
Directed By Anthony Quinn 8-Ball Prod/MVD A real tardy and blata addicted cocaine abu inhabit the backwood of New Jersey. This “ really does no justice bastards as they pran and parade themselv the camera for nimble who know nothing of yond their own insecu everyone endures da Unlike the crack addi Vancouver, these peo be throughly enjoying Not one to scatter up camera in front of the ticipants involved are happy to oblige. “Dangerous , hilariou geous ” are the appar of crack use accordin cover. Too bad the dir ing this this as in the Bumfights, Crackwho and more. This has a entertainment value w nor does it inform the insight into the realtie addiction. Hit up the corner Colu ings at anytime of the Vancouver if you wan Just hide your camer what’s good for you. By E.S. Day
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Directed by Michael Ney and Frank Shields MVD Visual Liberty in Restraint is Michael Ney and Frank Shields’ intensely informative and illustrative documentary on Noel Graydon, a photographer-turned-dungeon master-turned-family man. This film generously depicts Noel’s personal experiences as a professional photographer and carries viewers alongside his journeys through Australia’s BDSM scene (BDSM - bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sado-masochism), his drug addictions and recovery as well as fatherhood. In this film viewers will learn about a world of rope artists, lapsed Catholics, pain sluts, adult babies, electro-torture, blood and needle play. Activities such as these were Noel’s artistic influences and soon led him to put a hold on his photography in order to fully indulge himself in his passion; dungeon life. These fetishes were not only extremely well-represented by the artists involved in this film, but also showed that these activities are not debilitating and always practiced under safe, sane and consensual circumstances by experienced professionals. This is an extremely resourceful film for both the fetish novice and extremist alike. It not only sheds light and entails many different aspects and types of bondage and fetishes, but it also explains the positive reasons that these fetishes exist and are practiced to this day. Liberty in Restraint will surely delve you into depths of imagination and desires that you didn’t realize existed. These fetishists will show you that BDSM should be approached as “an advanced driving course in sex” rather than a stigmatic, freaky goth thing. If you are looking to spice things up in your sex life or to simply learn about what else is out there, this is a great documentary to check out. It definitely brought light to a few ideas that I thought looked pretty fun, now I’m finding myself wanting to go out and learn the art of rope tying. All in all very informative as well as explicit, so be advised that watching it with the volume turned up may turn some heads. More information, photos and video clips at the official website:LibertyInRestraint.com By Russ Foxx
Lee “Scratch” Perry in Concert - The Ultimate Alien
Live in Brighton, England MVD Visual From start to finish, this is a testament to how truly strange (if not completely insane) Lee Perry is. With his diminutive frame bedecked in kingly garments and sporting a gold plated cap (with various international currencies stuck inside), being led to the stage by his gorgeous assistant and fronting an all-white band of overly serious European rocksteady rockstars, Scratch is clearly in a world of his own - a world thick with paradox and saturated with his infuriatingly wise yet totally schizophrenic ramblings. At first glance this seems like a pick-up band provided by the venue, but after seeing them tear through Perry’s tracks with ruthless discipline you’ll realize he must have chosen them for more than just visual irony, although the voluptuous twin blondes are clearly there only for visual enhancement. Perry’s opener “I Am a Madman” contains more esoteric logic and off beat references than an Aesop Rock track, with one of the best lines - “live inna de country, riding on de donkey/ hee haw hee haw I’m a country boy.” Scratch treads the line between juvenile humour and darker prophetic pronouncements from his Rasta reasoning. The clearly repressed and jaded Eurotrash crowd are progressively moved to dancing by classics like “Tighten Up” and are admonished to “save your life” by not eating meat or smoking cigarettes. Some may have trouble deciphering Perry’s garbled vocal tone (half gargoyle/half leprechaun), and it’s often hard to tell whether he is improvising or not. The extra features further substantiate a diagnosis of full-blown psychosis, especially the ads he made for Guinness - featuring Lee cavorting in Dublin with a statue of James Joyce, holding court in a pub with a human brain and sitting in a bathtub in the desert. The interview attests to his “extraterrestrial heart” as he smokes a king sized spliff and pontificates on growing up, music, herb and the meaning of life. Perhaps the depth and profundity of his knowledge is too much for his elfin frame, but Lee “Scratch” Perry’s physical manifestation on this earth is very much out of synch with the thought patterns of average humans. In him wisdom and insanity are one and the Ultimate Alien confounds, confuses and inspires with his visionary sounds and lyrics. What else would you expect from the man who ran the infamous “Black Ark” studio in 1970’s Jamaica, recorded Bob Marley and the Wailers, forged the sound and style of dub, and then burned his own studio to the ground before throwing his mixer into a cesspool because they were possessed by devils? By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
FILM R EVIEWS
Directed by Chaz Thorne Seville Pictures Many Canadian films wear their nationality on their sleeve to their detriment (Bon Cop, Bad Cop I am looking at you). This is not to say that is shameful to be a Canadian film, or an inherently bad thing to be proud of it, but those that go out of their way to be recognized as one usually do so in ways which detract from the charms of the movie. Just Buried is not one of those films. Writer/Director Chaz Thorne revels in the freedom of being a film-maker unshackled by the constraints of Hollywood expectations and does so to great effect, winning the best director prize at the Atlantic Film Festival in the process. He is content to simply allow his film to be Canadian. Attentive eyes will identify Nove Scotia license plates and familiar bank logos, but no self-conscious beavers, toques, or hockey sticks. Just Buried follows the life of Oliver Whynaught following his inheritance of the least of two funeral homes in ‘a town where no one is dying.’ To say more would be to ruin 90 minutes of delightfully and increasingly black surprises. While one scene goes beyond the call of duty for unnecessary gross-out effect, the comic complications of Just Buried stack one on top of each other like stiffs in (uh, a ‘very funny’) morgue. As Oliver, Jay Baruchel (notably seen all ‘pinkeyed’ in Knocked Up) is as fantastically weird a hero as has been seen in Canadian cinema since Don McKellar in Highway 61 and the rest of the film is populated by a host of quirky maritime characters who each walk right up to the limit of believability for admirable comic effect. Canada needs more films like this. Go see Just Buried and encourage Canadian film makers to express their voices with subtlety and impunity the same way Chaz Thorne boldly does. By Kennedy Goodkey
Meditate and Destroy
Directed by Sarah Fisher Blue Lotus Films *PLUS* Afterparty featuring 49th Peril, The Easy Brothers and The Mags Sunday, July 6, 2008 Lucky Bar - Victoria, BC. According to author, teacher, counselor and ex-reprobate Noah Levine, Buddhism is the most punk rock thing there is. This is a bold statement from someone who’s done time as a teenager for drugs and violence, attempted suicide multiple times and identifies with the “punk” lifestyle for his sense of self. Although the practice of Buddhism is against the stream to some, in Sarah Fisher’s new documentary Meditate and Destroy, Noah gets the chance to discuss living a hard, fast life, hitting rock bottom and how he found Buddha there waiting for him. As the best selling author of Dharma Punx: A Memoir and Against the Stream, Noah has forged himself quite an interesting niche, helping disenfranchised youth and spiritual seekers by translating ancient cultural beliefs into modern spirituality. Even if your father is an American poet, author and teacher like Noah’s is, we must all suffer to know what suffering is. Presented in a “talking heads” style (with a rather unique animated portion), director Fisher lets Noah, his friends and colleagues and the people involved with the Buddha Revolution tell it as it is from the inside out. Noah’s insights into how we are conditioned by consumerism to avoid spirituality and how unwise it is to “furnish a burning house” are both refreshing and thought provoking and make sense of the plethora of accolades he receives throughout the film from fans and followers. From crack-head kid to Dharma punk, Meditate and Destroy delves into existential conundrums and shows that finding peace within one’s self isn’t always easy. This film may not answer everyone’s existential queries, but it’ll sure make you think. by Grimm “Kismet” Culhane
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
Directed by Jon Knautz Brookstreet Pictures Regardless of how fucked up we become in this life, eventually we all have to face our demons. Some demons are easier to deal with than others however, but none are worse than those faced by the title character in director Jon Knautz’s new film, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. After watching his family slaughtered by a monster as a child, Jack Brooks (Trevor Matthews) has grown into a bitter, resentful young plumber who visits a shrink in hopes of coming to terms with his anger issues. As if that weren’t challenging enough, Jack’s high pitched girlfriend Eve (Rachel Skarsten) treats him like dirt, his night-school classmates regard him as nothing more than a short fuse and his chemistry professor (Robert Englund) is more likely to reward Jack for his plumbing skills than he is for his school work. What is a poor plumber besot upon by demons left and right likely to do? Well, in Jack’s case, slay them… and slay them well. Trevor Matthews as Jack Brooks is the perfect reluctant hero, working out his angst in the shrink’s office as much as he does on demons themselves. Robert Englund gives one of his best comedic performances as the demon heart finding (and ingesting) Professor Crowley, whose transformation into the “Prof Monster” is truly remarkable. Another stand out role here is the ancient hardware store clerk Howard, played by celebrated Canadian actor David Fox. His slow delivery and sleepy foreboding is both fucking creepy and fucking hilarious! Not since Shaun of the Dead has horror/comedy gotten such a much-needed shot in the arm, face, solar plexus and genitals. The first episode of what will prove to be the next big horror franchise is, in Robert Englund’s own words, “a party movie.” With humor reminiscent of the Evil Dead trilogy and horror much akin to Dario Argento, this film works by remaining an unpretentious homage to 80’s gross-out horror, a decade when they still knew how to scare as much as they knew how to party. CHECK BACK FOR GRIMM CULHANE’S EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT ENGLUND, TREVOR MATTHEWS AND DIRECTOR JON KNAUTZ By Grimm “Party Monster” Culhane
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Directed by Nathan Frankowski Rampant Films Ben Stein narrates and investigates in director Nathan Frankowski’s self described controversial new “satirical documentary” called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. With half truths, outlandish claims and modified quotes, this film investigates the division between evolution and creation in the modern scientific community and the barriers to intelligent design being accepted as science. In the film Ben talks to scientists, professors, psychiatrists and mathematical biologists in the hopes of uncovering why modern science ridicules and ignores the theories of intelligent design. To the uneducated, this film is an interesting look at the theories and divisions between Darwin’s evolutionary postulations and ardent preponderants of intelligent design. To the educated, the film’s lack of focus and misleading use of quotes will leave you a bit puzzled as to what exactly the filmmakers are trying to convey with this effort. Is there room for God, Allah, Ishvara, Yahweh or any of the other intelligent design delineated deities inside the classrooms and laboratories? Certainly intelligent design has been much maligned and suppressed by the scientific community for being “a fantasy” in their eyes (especially in America), but as an explanation of origin and its questioning nature of Darwinism, intelligent design is no replacement for calculated theory. For every argument there is a counter argument… isn’t there? Not when educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired for believing there might be an “intelligent design” to nature and that life isn’t just a random accident. Darwin would roll in his grave if he heard quotes from his passages misused and manipulated as they are here. Although I can appreciate what the film makers are trying to do, with Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed the film makers use of such misleading, dishonest and manipulative tactics is unforgivable and really harms this film’s credibility. By Grimm “Question Everything” Culhane
By Danijel Zezelj Optimum Wounds Comics
By Marlise Kast Running Press
Comic books have come a long way since I was a kid, sitting in the back seat of the family Oldsmobile on long summer vacations reading Spiderman for the umpteenth time so’s not to plow my sister in the head for hogging all the jujubes. Once artists like Will Eisner, Bill Sienkiewicz, Alan Moore and Frank Miller got their hands on them, comic books became graphic novels and migrated from the newsstands to the bookstores and specialty shops, implying subjective distinctions in artistic quality and more mature content between graphic novels and other kinds of comics. Croatian born cartoonist Danijel Zezelj is no stranger to graphic novels. For the past 20 years he has been producing some of the most detailed and intense stories and images you’re likely to experience for the likes of DC Comics/Vertigo and Marvel Comics. His latest title, Rex, is no exception. Rex tells the story of Bill Orlowski, former hero cop who is framed for a crime he didn’t commit. After breaking out of jail, he embarks on a personal vendetta against those who set him up. Calling himself the more ferocious and primal name of Rex, our hero sets out to right the wrongs that have befallen him, even if it means hunting down and eliminating the most powerful man in the city. Dark, violent and smart, with Rex author Zezelj creates tension by shifting from longer shots to extreme close-ups and back again, all with stylish aplomb and exceptional detail. Combining amazing visual style with superlative storytelling, his detailed and emotionally charged black and white images make each ferocious frame a truly unique work of art. Definitely not for the timid, Rex will suck you in with its imagery and keep you there with its plot, something not all graphic novels are able to accomplish even half of. A special shout must go out to Optimum Wounds Comics (operating out of Vancouver, BC.) for having the courage and wisdom to print high quality black & white dark crime and horror graphic novels such as this. By Grimm “Jujube” Culhane
In true tabloid style, Marlise Kast shares her years of experience at Globe Magazine in her very readable but hardly edifying first novel Tabloid Prodigy. Anecdotal experiences merge inorganically with personal struggles as Cher and Demi become the backdrop for the author’s religious guilt and adrenaline addictions. The book is undoubtedly interesting, even a guilty pleasure akin to those flashy headlines one sees at the grocery check-out. Kast’s writing style has not grown out of the formulaic tabloid technique, made most apparent in the poor analogies; “There were distinct levels of seniority on the tabloid pen…the rest of us clung to the sides of the pocket clasp for fear of sliding onto the page and smudging the ink.” That said, Kast’s off-handed narrative feels like a conversation with a friend and the words flow easily. Kast’s work with the magazine is grueling and exciting; car chases, late nights at clubs, and multiple personas add some glitz to the long stake-outs and office hours. Interactions with various celebrities and the consequent reflections on celebrity life add some depth to the stories and provide a little insight into humanity. Kast writes, “we take a demented satisfaction when [celebrities] fail…Globe’s cover price is an inexpensive way to feel better about ourselves.” Some of the more interesting stories include William Shatner’s wedding, a stint in an Egyptian prison and getting down with Bobby Brown. The process of tabloid journalism is broken down for the layperson, from the chase to the source-checking to the office politics. Some of the stigma surrounding the tabloids is removed as Kast reveals her own guilt issues about exploiting people; celebrities and paparazzi alike are shown to be people trying to make a living. Although Tabloid Prodigy is a little tacky in its writing style, it is comprehensible for the same reason. Kast adds a human element to the entertainment industry by being generous with her own feelings and honest in her depictions. She uses celebrity anecdotes to reflect on what is true and false in the tabloid market and question the boundaries of privacy. Tabloid Prodigy is to the literary canon what Globe is to journalism; easy to read, fun, but ultimately inconsequential. By Amalia Nickel
Stalefish - Skateboard Culture from the Rejects Who Made It
By Sean Mortimer (Forward by Tony Hawk) Chronicle Books Skateboards, shady friends and punk rock are all any self-respecting twelve year old needs. Parental units will undoubtedly pitch a fit about how you’re “wasting your life” on a “toy,” but don’t let this deter you and your buddies from building ramp after shitty ramp in the back yard. Whether it’s “going to” or “escaping from,” what “toy” can possibly take you to where a skateboard can? The “toy” that created a revolution, a cultural movement and endless hours of parental angst is examined in Sean Mortimer’s new book, Stalefish - Skateboard Culture from the Rejects Who Made It. Sponsored skater himself in the 80’s, this former editor of SkateBoarder Magazine and coauthor of HAWK - Occupation Skateboarder and The Mutt - How to Skateboard and not Kill Yourself (with Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen respectively), brings together stories and perspectives from those who’s love of skateboarding helped shape a cultural phenomenon unique from any other. This fascinating look at over 50 years of skateboarding comes right from the mouths and pens of skateboard’s elite. Lance Mountain, Daewon Song, Stacy Peralta, Rodney Mullen, and Richmond, BC’s own Kevin Harris are only a few of the four-wheeled fanatics who share stories of life, ulcers and punk rock as seen through the eyes of professional skateboarders. Sean Mortimer’s dedication and perseverance in collecting these stories and photos are what really makes Stalefish exceptional. Tracking down elusive skaters and getting them to open up about personal victories and all too personal defeats couldn’t have been easy, but Sean succeeds brilliantly and brings together skateboard’s past, present and future in this one amazing book. Insights into the hierarchy of skate parks, crazy neighbours setting ramps on fire and stories of fame won and lost share equal time with a vast assortment of jaw dropping photographs. Throw in a forward by Tony Hawk, a skateboarding timeline, plenty of history and humour and Stalefish - Skateboard Culture from the Rejects Who Made It has all the makings of one classic and extremely compulsive read. By Grimm “Goofy Foot” Culhane
Black Velvet Masterpieces
Carl Baldwin & Caren Anderson Chronicle Books Finally. Satan taking a shit, sweaty Elvis, Jesus posing with a semi-truck, and Kiss painted up to look like they are in a marching band have been brought together in one publication: Black Velvet Masterpieces. One book that features the very best black velvet paintings from the Velveteria Museum in Portland, Oregon. For those of you who are too busy getting HJ’s from your sister to know anything about Velveteria, painting on black velvet dates back to the 1800’s in Japan. It was brought to the US in the early 1920’s and instantly became the underdog of the art world - many art snobs refused to even call it art because the paintings were not done on canvas. And so Velveteria was reduced to kitsch. Black Velvet Masterpieces gives the history of the paintings and presents the works so any fool can see that black velvet painting is an art form. Aside from breaking convention and not painting on canvas, the artists’ paintings tell stories plus the technique and skill required to paint some of these masterpieces is truly remarkable. But I’ll admit that a few of the paintings are down right goofy. Chalk this up to the fact that many artists who were painting on black velvet would do almost anything to sell their pieces and during war time it was mostly soldiers who were getting regular pay cheques so it should be no surprise that many of the velvet paintings were of war heroes, dead celebrities and naked women. The naked Polynesian woman motif was perfected by the father of black velvet paintings, Edgar Leeteg. But he wasn’t trying to sell his paintings to soldiers, he was trying to meet women and just down right loved Polynesian women. The book is true to black velvet’s history and includes many full nudes of the velvet masters though sadly there are very few Leeteg’s in the book. God only knows why, seeing as the man did over 200 over a period of 20 years plus all of the other paintings he did for advertising companies and for the other greedy bastards who were lurking in Tahiti, making butt loads of money off of his under paid efforts. But the lack of Leeteg’s in the book can be forgiven because the book is soft and feels good in your hands (the cover is velvety), it’s intelligent and entertaining, in fact I think I’ll take the book out for dinner and see what happens. By Christina Thiele
The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon
By John Joseph PUNKHouse Books According to Norman Mailer, “Tough Guys Don’t Dance.” Fortunately, for us tough guys do write books however and thankfully so as N.Y.H.C. legend John “Bloodclot” Joseph proves with his new opus The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon. From hard times experienced as a kid on New York’s unforgiving streets and foster homes right up to his spiritual redemption, Joseph takes a no nonsense approach to his writing, telling it like it is and drawing the reader into his world with his gifted story telling abilities. Garnering a degree from “the University of the Streets” is never easy, but Joseph presents it in a hilarious and heartfelt way that will draw you in and keep you reading Coping a feel during the opening act of a ’77 Black Sabbath concert (AC/DC no less), neighbourhood junkie invasions, serving time in jail, serving food to the poor with the Hare Krishna’s and serving Marines their own teeth while in the Navy, there is very little this man has not done. “Bloodclot” also takes the reader through a veritable who’s who of the punk/thrash scene in the 70’s and 80’s with style, insight and a great deal of humour. With excerpts like sitting in a wheelchair in 70 degree heat in a Santa suit, sweating like a pig outside a Brooklyn Hare Krishna temple panhandling (and how to do it well), the three laws of the street hustle (learned from junkie, street urchin and motherfucker Mikey Debris) and just how “punk rock” John Belushi really was (and the riot on the set of Saturday Night Live), no one has the unique experiences and observation that John Joseph displays here. Norman Mailer also once said, “Hip is the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle.” With The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, John Joseph proves that in today’s “giant jungle” he is by far one of the hippest and wisest primitives to ever put pen to paper. By Grimm “The Age of Quarrel” Culhane
Best Music Writing 2007
Edited by Robert Christgau and Daphne Carr Da Capo Press You know the old Frank Zappa saying that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”? Now I know not all musicians appreciate journalists equally, but it’s better than no-one talking about you at all… so fuck you! This best of collection from last year is pretty damn entertaining. You’ll laugh insanely at the antics of Dr. Weezy F. Baby acting the shrink with his mantra of “get money, fuck bitches,” pondering the story of “the Countess” of Jazz who attended Charlie Parker’s death, half caring about the trajectory of Mariah Carey’s career or Beyonce’s “politics” and even chortling at the descriptions of lifelong “Bahbra” Streisand fans enraptured in their extremities of fanaticism. Stand out material also includes the James Brown piece he wrote for Rolling Stone just months before his death - an object lesson in success and insanity that takes on mythic dimensions - artist as living God kinda shit.
Bodhi Oser & Art Chandry Chronicle Books A merch mongers dream come true, a young musicians postered wall of hope, the bands, brands and logos contained in Bodhi Oser’s BAND ID has pretty much summed up how modern day corporations thrive on the unique connection between the buyer and the bedazzled music loving public. From the Stones “Tongue” to indecipherable Black Metal hieroglyphics, we are treated to a condign collection of rock, rap, metal, reggae, country and punk logos from the famous to the unbearable. Over 1000 logos spanning over 4 decades have been mulled together, the book delves into the origins of classics such as Slayer, Wu-Tang Clan, The Grateful Dead, Spinal Tap, Led Zeppelin, Public Enemy, AC/DC and many of the iconic trademarks that have served more purpose on a T-shirt than on the desk of any record label exec.
Created by California artist Bodhi Oser known for his skate and surf work in the corporate world, he and Tacoma, WA. artist Art Chandry, have struck gold with an incurably simplistic approach. Big, bold and brazenly in-your-face, the genres flow from page Actually, the piece on Israeli/Palestinian Hip Hop was the to page and no reader over 21 could possibly not connect with at bomb (yeah, I said it…), contrasting the hate-filled sellouts least one childhood memory in the form of one band’s identity. in Israel with their embittered, long suffering Palestinian counterparts and then balancing it off with the true school A coffee table book for musicians and industry folk alike, it even Israeli’s who see through their country’s lies. This article is has a giant raised guitar pick, that one cannot help but caress for very reminiscient of a similar scene in the new film Global hours on end. Metal by Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen. Oh yes, I am having sex with this book in case you are The point is that good music writing makes even botoxed wondering, and I don’t care who knows it. corporate shills sound interesting, even though we know that these mutant cannibals are actually forming taste By E.S. Day and popular opinion (hell - even whole lives) out of the contents of their regurgitated souls, because music has always been the most powerful force on the planet… period! On the other hand, upon reading this one realizes the integrity and calibre of some of our own writers here at ABORT is comparable, nay, even rivals that of the corporate shills on the other side of the speaker (meaning real journalists…), the difference being that we not only say what we want, but that we then have to face up to the people we said it to without a team of lawyers to back us. (So far - ed) In other words…a good entertaining, lite read. Good to keep up with the journalistic Joneses (God knows there’s a lot of them out there). American media journalism has always been shallow and if this is the “best of” then stick to ABORT - we got you covered. By Dave “Corvid” McCallum
ABORTIST Exclusive: The Legendary Ralph Bakshi takes us back to his childhood and gives us some dirt on Coonskin, Fritz The Cat, American Pop and Wizards 2? Then it’s off to The Pits of Hell with Freddy Krueger’s alter ego, Robert Englund. We take on Revolutionary/Rapper, Immortal Technique — ‘nuff said. Estevan Oriol, the man behind the photos and artwork for Cypress Hill, House of Pain, Linkin Park. Taime Down of Faster Pussycat keeps us up to date on his latest ventures as well a few eyeliner secrets. Rapcore king Ill Bill gets sick on our pages and we refuse to clean it up. Tales from The Eastside: Can Radio survive in the Eastside? (especially at Hastings & Columbia). Behind the Boards - Grammy winning producer Diamond D. (The Fugees, Gang Starr, KRS-ONE) gives you up and coming producers some tips. SHOOTING GALLERY EXCLUSIVES: HOW THE FEST WAS WON: Mayhem Fest, Rock The Bells, Summer Slaughter Tour, The Masters of Metal, and more!
ABORT Magazine…Because Everyone has a Dark Side.
photo by David Shankbone
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