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by Michael P. Irwin

3 Aug 2010


Bad Religion—the so-called “Grandfathers” of the Southern California punk rock scene—recently released a preview track from their upcoming album The Dissent of Man.  The song, titled “The Devil un Stitches”, is available for streaming via Epitaph Records’ website or right here.

 

Over the course of their 30-year career, Bad Religion has released 14 studio albums and have influenced generations of bored suburban teenagers with their infectious blend of high-tempo punk rock overlaid with intelligent lyrics sung with the band’s trademark “oozin’ ahhs” vocals. Moreso than any of their peers or their followers, Bad Religion makes songs that one cannot help but sing along to, regardless of whether it’s about politics, religion, science, or just life in general. And, since guitarist and co-songwriter Brett Gurewitz’s return on 2002’s The Process of Belief the band has defied critics and even time itself, continuing to get better and better as the years go on. 

Most musicians want to grow, evolve, and experiment over the courses of their careers—as well they should. However, as fans we tend to remember the instances where that experimentation has (in our humble opinions) gone wrong more often than the times when it has gone right.  On the other hand, we’ll also criticize other artists who produce record after record with the same overall sound and feel, saying that they’re stuck in a rut or not being creative.  Bad Religion is a band who has received criticism from both points-of-view—too much experimentation on 1982’s Into The Unknown and not enough experimentation on everything else. 

However, as the old saying goes ”…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…”. While the band doesn’t stray from their tried-and-true sound or the theme of their music, they do it today with as much energy and spirit as they always have, and still manage to create something that sounds current and relevant using the same tools that they did 30 years ago. If “The Devil in Stitches” is any indication, we’re in for another great album with The Dissent of Man.

by Adrien Begrand

3 Aug 2010


Calgary, Alberta duo Mares of Thrace seem to specialize in making lasting impressions. Their superb debut album The Moulting (Arctodus) deftly walks a line between the crushing riffs and primitive rhythms of Neurosis, the jagged, atonal sounds of Unsane and the Jesus Lizard, the mathcore cadences of the Dillinger Escape Plan, and well-timed melodic passages. In a live setting the band is even more striking, diminutive guitarist Thérèse Lanz howling and snarling away as she churns out baritone guitar riffs heavier than any dude can pull off, deceptively powerful drummer Stefani MacKichan alternating between devastating beats and graceful, fluid fills that feel more jazz-inspired than metal-derived.

Their brand-new video for “General Sherman” takes the cake, however. After starting out as a straightforward, well-shot performance piece, the Colin Hart-directed clip quickly shifts to a twisted, torture-porn storyline involving the ladies and an unsuspecting suitor. With MacKichan as the demure girl and Lanz as the evil, corpsepainted voice in her head, our heroines have their way with the fella in ultraviolent fashion, including an incident with garden shears that will make anyone wince. Though the video’s dark humor is undeniable, it also serves notice that Mares of Thrace are not to be trifled with, and heaven help anyone in the male-dominated metal world who judges these talented women on the way they look rather than the music they play. They’ll blindside you, either by their powerful tunes, or if need be, an Easton bat to the back of the head.

by Faye Rasmussen

3 Aug 2010


Power-pop favorites Ultimate Fakebook release their first full-length album since their seven-year hiatus. Daydream Radio is Smiling Static is a collection of lost recordings from 2000-2003, and to make their comeback known, their tracks are being offered for free via www.ufbrocks.com.

UFB fans rejoice! They are reemerging with the sounds of early Elvis Costello and combining the rowdy spirit of the Replacements, so whether it’s your first listen or rekindling you prior obsession, Daydream Radio is a perfect introduction to Ultimate Fakebook; 16 originals, one cover (Guided By Voices ‘Echoes Myron)—a rollicking, giddy salute to making music on your own terms.

 

by Jane Jansen Seymour

3 Aug 2010


NPR’s Exclusive First Listen has opened up the gates for a preview of the highly anticipated third release from Canada’s indie sensation Arcade Fire, released August 3rd. Between that and the opportunity to see the band play live at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night, August 5th on their Youtube channel (10 pm EST/7 pm PST), fans have an opportunity to weigh in on the new offering for themselves.

The Suburbs opens with the title track meandering along with images of kids running through yards. It’s a glimpse into frontman Win Butler’s childhood near Houston, Texas, as appropriately enough the band is his vision – with his brother Will and wife Reginé Chassagne beside him to round out a solid group of seven, plus additional musicians as needed. Things pick up by the second track, “Ready to Start” which along with “Empty Room” could be the instant classic “Keep the Car Running” was for their last CD, Neon Bible. The other tracks present a cohesive whole with Win Butler’s distinctive voice riding the instrumental wave behind him, never overpowering and always in synch with the rest of the band. Some surprises include the hard rollicking sound of “Month of May” and the brazen synths of “The Sprawl II”. Mellower moments are presented during the stripped down “Wasted Hours” and the lovely symphonic end piece, “The Suburbs (continued)”. 

If I could pick any time and place to see Arcade Fire it would have been during their early days when they played New York City’s Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, that shrine to early modern dance. The vast space of Madison Square Garden holds little appeal but sitting in front of a computer screen, I’ll gladly submit to the vision of director Terry Gilliam. It’s online community at its best.

by Michael Underwood

3 Aug 2010


Autumn is the nurse seen in episode 3, “Robot Lovestory”. We learn here that she is Specim3n’s wife, and made a deal to save his life—which brought him into the Dark Doctor’s laboratory/hospital. Having helped Specim3n escape, Autumn retreats home, but is found by the Dark Doctor, who reminds her of the deal she made for her husband’s life, seizing control of her body in a dance-world parallel to the puppetmaster villain (Eric Doyle) seen in the show Heroes. This establishes another pair of opposite-side characters, with Justin Starr and Jimmy Angel already looking to fall on opposing sides of the Uprising vs. LXD conflict.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

In Motion: On the Emptiness of Progress

// Moving Pixels

"Nils Pihl calls it, "Newtonian engagement", that is, when "an engaged player will remain engaged until acted upon by an outside force". That's "progress".

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