Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sleepless Evil

Haven't been spending too much time on the information superhighway lately, which isn't really a bad thing I guess. It just means I'm kind of out of the loop when it comes to internet news and trivia and also, well, I haven't been updating this blog as much as I would have liked to. I'm working on an interview with the incredible Harm's Way though, so that should pop up here soon(ish). In the meantime head to their myspace page to listen to a brandnew song called "Fantasy". Early 90's Earache/death metal vibes if you ask me. This song sounds so fucking heavy and it's real epic... I like epic.

The last couple of months were filled with some touring (Rise And Fall/Trapped Under Ice and Floorpunch/True Colors) and a lot of time off. I'm going to be working again soon so I'm kinda trying to cherish the freedom I have right now to read a bunch of books, see a bunch of movies and hang. Both tours were great, on various levels. Well attended shows and a lot of quality people to talk to and spend time with.

The last show of the Floorpunch/True Colors trip was in Antwerp, Belgium. This day was also marked in calendars as the last Rhythm To The Madness show ever. An understandable goodbye from a band that I feel never really reached their full potential. I love both records but I feel like this band could've have actually gone places instead of fizzling out. Wasn't meant to be I guess. True Colors are breaking up fairly soon too, their last show is on May 22nd so don't miss out. They will be heading to the States for a last US tour next week as well.

In between both tours I also got to see the re-united doom legends we all know as Saint Vitus and that show was off the hook. They opened up with "Living Backwards"/"I Bleed Black"/"Window Pane" (if memory serves me right) and were on a roll for pretty much the rest of their set. Only lost a little momentum when they gave their new drummer some time to shine and well, maybe Dave Chandler could've cut down on the inbetween song feedbacking a little but hey, I'm not really complaining. Wino without a guitar is quite the sight too. He's a giant. In every sense of the word. Great night. I don't think I'll see a lot of better shows this year.

About a week ago I hit the road with fellow bloggers J. Dog and Big Phil (ahum) to see Madball & Terror in Germany and then MF Doom in Brussels the day after. Terror was spot on live, as usual, killing it in front of what must've been a little over 700 people. Solid setlist with choice cuts from every record, starting off with "Out Of My Way" which happens to be a favorite of mine. It definitely did the trick in Germany. I remember first hearing this (then unreleased) song in Arnhem, Holland at the legendary Goudvishal in 2002... It felt like getting hit with a brick. Anyway, Terror are definitely still one of my favorite live bands these days. No new songs though tonight, but I'm more than curious to hear their upcoming "Keepers Of The Faith" album. On to Madball then, who I can't remember to have ever disappointed me live, and what I said about Terror definitely applies to Madball as well. Weird how some people had already left but ya know... If you can't appreciate a dose of Madball I guess I can't help you either. Freddy controlled the stage, controlled the crowd and delivered as always. Newer songs blend in easily with older classics and I enjoyed all of it. Madball seem to have a new album coming this year as well. Sweet.

MF Doom was a slightly different experience. I've been to my share of hip hop shows so I know how those usually turn out kinda disappointing... However in Doom's case, the actual show was definitely solid. Visuals, a real DJ, a lot of onstage activity and energy, with Doom wearing that crazy golden mask, rappin' relentlessly. So far, so good. However, the lack of real bangers/anthems did prevent me from really loving it. Now I know that all of this - his own flow and storytelling skills - set Viktor Vaughn apart from most, plus the lack of singles or catchy choruses and what not, but still. What bothered me the most though was waiting for one hour and a half for the man to hit the stage, in a room that was sold out, packed with idiots and filled with cigarette smoke. The wait really did half ruin the show. I'll forgive the guy. Method Man next sunday better be real good though.

One of the most thrilling shows in recent memory though must've been the first ever Blind To Faith show on March 6th. This show took place at the legendary Pits in Kortrijk, Belgium. A venue the size of your average living room, that has hosted a crazy range of shows, from New Bomd Turks to Gorilla Biscuits to Dead Stop. Rumour has it that when the Crowbar/Eyehategod tour in '92 stopped by, the NOLA dudes thought it was a dressingroom rather than a venue. Anyway - Blind To Faith were an impressive sight. Seasoned scene veterans raging through a set of hateful, ragged and violent punkmetal with a good dose of nihilistic sludge thrown in. The crowd went wild, that buzz of anticipation was definitely in the air and the band delivered. Their next show is in April 11th, in Ghent with... Eyehategod. Yes.

Last of all, Double Cross Blog has been running an incredibly interesting and in depth interview with Matt Henderson, spread out over 5 parts so if you haven't... Check that shit out. See you all soon.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Six Questions With Alex Hughes

Alex Hughes is the other half of the Iron Age guitar axis. Texas native and natural born shredder. He also may or may not be involved in eardrum shattering phenomena such as Hatred Surge and Insect Warfare. Some other random fun facts: He once moshed during an entire Das Oath live set. Also, he once made the rest of Iron Age, who were already on stage, wait for 20 minutes because he was walking a dog. Uncle Al...

What was the last record you bought?

Corrupted - "Paso Inferior".

If you could travel back in time and roadie on any tour that ever happened, what tour would that be?

The UK Earache Grind Crusher tour BOLT THROWER, CARCASS, MORBID ANGEL & NAPALM DEATH. Doesn't really get more brutal.

If you could erase one album from the history of music, which one would that be and why?

Gorilla Biscuits - "Start Today" (yuck)

What is your favorite record that never was? Meaning it never got fully written, recorded or released at all but it would have been awesome if it had been...

Obviously the Manpig 10".

What are your musical predictions for 2010?

Business as usual. Hopefully more metal and less messageboard bullshit.

Favorite Some Kind Of Monster quote?

Not a quote but the part where they show the different title ideas for St. Anger....SATANIC CUCKOO CLOCK

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Six Questions With Jeffrey Smet

Meet Jeffrey... An international jetsetter, sneakerhead pur sang, hip hop connaisseur and math wizard. If you're feeling unsure about the color combos you're thinking of rocking this weekend, ask Jeffrey for advice before you head out the door looking like rainbow man. As someone with a refined taste in music (I'll let his Lil Wayne fixation slip here for a sec) I knew I had to send these questions to him as well. Jeffrey was kind enough to take some time off from the writing of his book "Urban Wheelchairing In 2010" to answer them promptly.

What was the last record you bought?

The last record I scooped off ebay is Down - "Nola" LP. Had it on CD for years, finally got my hands on some vinyl. The last new music I bought is the latest Clipse record. Unfortunately on CD cause it wasn't released on vinyl. What's up with that?

If you could travel back in time and roadie on any tour that ever happened, what tour would that be?

I guess some early Life Of Agony tour. Rocking out with my all time favorite band day in day out.

If you could erase one album from the history of music, which one would that be and why?

The first thing that comes to mind must definitely be the latest Merauder record. Sad.

What is your favorite record that never was? Meaning it never got fully written, recorded or released at all but it would have been awesome if it had been...

Probably "The Commission" debut LP. The Commission was suposed to be this east coast rap supergroup based around Hova and Biggie. Too bad the latter died way to early.

What are your musical predictions for 2010?

I predict Drake is going to be the next big thing in pop/hiphop/music. "Thank Me Later" is gonna be an awesome record. Juelz Santana is gonna put out a great record and become the most relevant Dipset member of '10. I love the new 90´s RNB inspired stuff Diddy is doing now, think that might blow up as well. Hope to see something sparkling new on the Belgian hardcore scene too.

Favorite Some Kind Of Monster quote?

When Ulrich says he's gonna shove 50 dollars up your ass and James Hetfield continues: "One dollar at a time".

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Six Questions With Robert Moss

On May 29th Rob's band Dirty Money will be playing their last show ever. London's where you need to be if you want to catch that. Chances are he'll be wearing his yellow XXL De La Soul shirt for the occasion, while riffing it up on stage. Yeah, Rob's cool like that."Six Questions With..." is kind of a new thing I'm trying to get going here and I figured Rob would be a good first.

What was the last record you bought?

It was actually a Strength For A Reason record I think.

If you could travel back in time and roadie on any tour that ever happened, what tour would that be?

Any Pantera tour. I'd be drowning in black-tooth-grins with ma boy Dime. Watch it go!

If you could erase one album from the history of music, which one would that be and why?

"My Love. My Way" by Modern Life Is War. For inspiring too many people stuck in 2006 to form paint-by-numbers "epic" sounding bands that are just fundamentally boring.

What is your favorite record that never was? Meaning it never got fully written, recorded or released at all but it would have been awesome if it had been...

The Dirty Money LP? Ha! Maybe a full length Merauder record with Eddie Sutton singing. A progression from that demo. That would be interesting to hear. I don't mean I want to hear Sutton singing "Master Killer", I mean something new & specific to that lineup.

What are your musical predictions for 2010?

Within UKHC specifically I imagine things drifting along here with not much change. I'd expect maybe half a dozen really good records worldwide. In the UK there might be one or two interesting things in the planning stages. I imagine I'll start hearing a lot of bands doing watered down Trapped Under Ice riffs and other people getting really excited by that. I think more bands will start to do crossover records between hardcore and other genres and people will say they like them even if the music is bad out of fear of being accused that they 'don't get it'. At the same time I think a handful bands (outside the bands I expect) will do something massively creative and fun.

Favorite Some Kind Of Monster quote?

Lars' Dad - "I would say... delete that. I don't know for you guys, but for me it doesn't cut it..."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

This World, I Am Afraid, Was Designed For Crashing Bores

I have devised a bunch of plans in my head to help me survive 30 in 2010. One of them is doing more blogging. I have a few interviews coming up, so keep checking back. I do have some time on my hands now until Rise And Fall embarks on that 10 day Euro tour with Trapped Under Ice late January. So there might be more updates soon.

We did 3 shows with Hope Con a while back and it was a pleasure to see those dudes again, on and off stage. They raged through an epic setlist every night, playing as much as 16, 17 or 18 songs and lovin' it. I know I could not physically pull that off, despite being a few years younger than some of those guys, so hats off to them. Granted, it might seem a bit long considering how all our attention spans have been reduced to next to nothing thanks to the wonders of television and the internet but I actually enjoyed hearing such a wide variety of their songs, from real old to brand new. I love how that band works, they do what they do and when they want to. I have yet to acquire a physical copy of "True Nihilist" but I'm sure it'll come as no surprise when I tell you that record is really, really good.

Went to see a couple of shows last week, the first being the legendary Ian Brown playing one of Belgium's finest venues, the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. Now, I am not very familiar with Ian Brown's solo records so I will not claim to be an expert but I have to say most songs he played didn't make much of an impression on me. That's alright though, as I mainly just wanted to see the man on stage. You never know, it might've have secretly been his last tour or something. I mean Jay Reatard died last week and he was only 29. "Fool's Gold" was the only Stone Roses song we were treated to, I was hoping for more but I do respect the man just doing his own thing. My favourite parts of the show were the ones in between songs where he'd just stroll around stage and say cool shit. Best quote: "Could you stop texting please?" to some random idiot in the crowd. Glad I went.

Then on Saturday I was back in Brussels, this time in the newly relocated Magasin 4. The old location was the spot in late 90's and early 00's for wild shows and the new building is definitely cool. Good location, roomy but not huge. Just a little chilly in the winter I guess. Main attraction here was Kickback, supported by Length Of Time and a few more bands. Length Of Time did well in front of an enthusiastic hometown crowd, the sound was good too. No new songs though although I know they've been working on some. Kirby held it down perfectly as the sole guitarist. Their set might've been a little long for my tastes but whatever.
On to Kickback, who throughout the years still have maintained enough mystique, charisma and popularity to draw a rather large crowd, especially in Belgium I'd say. Though I feel like a lot of people come to see the circus rather than Kickback the band, which I can understand, I've always thought they were a genuinely great band. Less of the provocative stage rants by Stephen this time around, I didn't really hear him call the crowd a bunch of f-bombs or whatever so that was a nice change. The music did all the talking and as far as Kickback shows go, this one was really good. An uncomfortable vibe dominated the room (in no small part thanks to the projections they have going on now, Neurosis style, showing the vilest shit you can imagine), a band possessed and a sound that was good but raw and aggressive enough to make it work. A lot of songs off their latest "No Surrender" album and obviously a bunch of tracks off "Forever War" and "Les 150 Passions Meurtrières". A good night.

Last of all, I'd recommend anyone to go see or rent "It Might Get Loud", a documentary on rock guitarists (I guess?) featuring Jimmy Page, Jack White and The Edge. This is one of the coolest music films I've ever seen. Seeing Jimmy Page play guitar, talk about guitars and school the young 'uns just brought the biggest smile to my face. Basically these 3 men get together with a bunch of guitars and a bunch of old records and talk about what they love most. Great concept. Lots of good music passes through. Afterwards I was thinking how brilliantly these 3 men reflect 3 generations of musicians. Seeing how U2 started out nearly as a punkrock band (The Edge gives props to The Jam and The Buzzcocks amongst others for inspiration), as a reaction to the old "rock dinosaurs" who were past their peak and would indulge in 15 minute guitar solos etc. they are defintely part of the generation that came after Led Zeppelin. In turn The White Stripes were very much a reaction as well to that generation. Back to basics, stripped down blues worship as a response to bands like U2 where the guitar didn't even sound like a guitar anymore, sounding too tame and too diluted for a wild cat like Jack White. "It Might Get Loud" is a job well done, above all, it was done with love and tremendous respect and that shines through. Don't miss out.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Part of being a nerd entails that you love lists. So obviously I do too. I was planning on having a bunch of people send me theirs but there's a whole bunch of other blogs and sites out there that are doing that already so peep those. Deathwish Inc, Complex man, Trumbull Island, etcetera. You know where to go. Here's my Top 10 Albums of this year in some random order. As with any list, I'll probably regret a few choices in a week from now and I probably forgot a bunch of great records too but that's life. Here goes...

IRON AGE - "The Sleeping Eye"

All the riffs you wish you wrote. Or the ones you wish Hetfield and Hammett were still writing. If you have a short attention span, you might not dig this. If you love good music, you probably will.


Fuck it, this record probably has the coolest cover art of '09. Not a lot of records have me running into record stores a few days before the official release date hoping to dig this one out of a crate. If you thought "Beyond" was quite the return to form (and it was) then you're in for a treat.

DAN AUERBACH - "Keep It Hid"

The Black Keys' axeman goes solo, as if he hasn't written enough killer blues rock already. I know blues rock is the worst term but whatever. Doesn't stray too far from the path The Black Keys have paved, but if the path's this brilliant, who cares?

MORRISSEY - "Years Of Refusal"

Yeah you like The Smiths better. Yadda yadda. How can you be Morrissey's age and still be so cool? This relevant? And rock harder than you ever have? Beats me. But the man delivers again.


Fuck Them Crooked Vultures. This is THE supergroup of 2009. Bow to the altar of Wino, Scott Kelly, Cisneros and Crover.

CONVERGE - "Axe To Fall"

One only expects greatness from Converge and that's all they deliver. A touch more metal and at the same time a touch more "accessible" than their last few records. So good.

TRAPPED UNDER ICE - "Secrets Of The World"

Some people have refused to call this the record of the year because too many other people have. Weird huh? This record makes you love hardcore more.

RAEKWON - "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II"

The chef is back. Swinging knives and wrecking kettles. Everyone else, get out of the fuckin' kitchen.

KICKBACK - "No Surrender"

This is an ugly, hateful, vicious record. You cannot possibly explain to your mom why you like it, but you do like it. A lot. In fact, you don't want your mom to know you're into this because somehow it makes you a freak.

BLAKROC - "s/t"

Does everything The Black Keys touch turn into gold? It sure does seem so. Hip Hop and rock collabs have everything against them, but somehow these boys and some of Hip Hop's finest make it work. It sounds so natural and right you wonder if you should maybe give that Judgment Night soundtrack another shot.