Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Twelve Songs For 2012

I listened to a lot of music in 2012, but these twelve songs most often and most obsessively. Play loud.

Copper Fields by Blacklisted. The band takes their stage magic v. real magic as motif for relationship and executes on it perfectly. The vocalist is no magician and the love between the two people wasn't conjured up whether from the depths of our psyche or a sleeve or hat. It's also one of Blacklisted's best songs, new or otherwise, and stands taller, I think than most of the incredible Heavier Than Heaven or No One Deserves.

"More like suicide king / less like ace of hearts."

Drag My Body by Hot Water Music. I believe this is the best song they've ever written. I didn't bother listening to Exister because of how good this song was. It's not like Hot Water Music is going to top it until the next record. Another pinnacle from a band known for incredible highs and breathtaking views.

"Something's rattling my bones!"

Bag by White Lung. They might dislike choruses. I love 'em and in one of my favorite Deranged records to come out in years, a chorus means something. I listened to this record in transit, but especially during the NATO Summit. It was music that made me feel ashamed for not protesting.

"I'm about to / warn you"

Desert Lily by Make Do And Mend. I must have heard this guitar line somewhere before. Maybe in another life? One before, or one yet to come? I'd say this thing cuts, but it isn't meant to cut. It's meant to soothe and ameliorate. It does that. So it's a ballad about finally being home from tour and with your lover, and it might be the only one on this list. It's one song on the record that sounds the least like their guiding star, Hot Water Music. I want, desperately, to hear where they go after this.

"I've earned my share of home..."

Patriot-Hostage Calm. It's a mid to late album stunner. It's almost acapella, mostly four voices and if the Futureheads hadn't already done an entire record acapella, I'd stare slack-jawed. But, it's executed well and surprise counts for a lot. It might have my favorite lyric on the entire record. It's about American history and the disappointments that come from knowing where that progress comes from and what it entailed.

"And drunk with pride / you hurt / you stole but I still carried you home / from the jungles to the deserts / to the trenches' reddened snow..."

Here Comes My Man-The Gaslight Anthem. Brian Fallon's lyrics tend to find easy crutches for purchase. Blood is spilled on the page. Black as a raven. Women are drugs. You get the idea. Despite that, I connected with Here Comes My Man in a way that I haven't connected with Gaslight Anthem song since I first heard Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis when I was in Pennsylvania. As an aside, that's a Planes Mistaken For Stars shirt that the drummer wears. Oh yes.

"Singing oh sha la la..."

The Obituaries-The Menzingers. So the Menzingers are pessimistic. They've got every right to be. They know intimately how far good songs will take them, and they also know intimately how those same songs can't pay them rent. But. Some kid will hear this song and know that the Menzingers aren't insulting their intelligence or talking down to them. With this, they become the heroes they always aimed for.

"I will fuck this up, I fucking know it..."

Constellations-Enter Shikari. The rest of the record is hit or miss, but the final track on A Flash Flood Of Colour is a game-winning home run. I'm not terribly interested in their sound generally, but this song is something fantastic. If it doesn't make you look up at the sky and smile, well, there might be nothing for you. It's the most traditional song on the record, by a wide margin. Maybe that's why I like it? It's easier to digest.

"with forgiveness as our torch and imagination our sword..."

 Maple Boy-No Trigger. This song feels too good to be true. The rush of melody. The rush of speed. I'm sad the rest of Tycoon isn't as good, but between this and Checkmate, it was a brilliant, but not quite blinding ray of sunlight in the miserable winter.

"But now in its place / a legacy of full grown trees!"

Sunset On 32nd (live)-Strike Anywhere. Acoustic record. Live. It comes off of a record that has two parts, one part that's almost a BBC live session, it's clear and it's pretty. The other is from a benefit for the IWW and it's billed as more raucous, and it is, but there's almost no crowd singing, which is what you go to a raucous Strike Anywhere gig for. Except, of course, for one song and that one song is Sunset On 32nd. In this one song, you understand why this part of the record exists.

"and when they pinned you to the floor / did you say / 'officer I am not resisting you?'"

Self Immolation Family-Self Defense Family. It goes a indulgent by the end, the riff gets a little long in the tooth. But still. They need an editor, it's true, but until minute five, the six minute song is majestic and frankly, I didn't know the band that wrote Eddie Antar could do that. Maybe they can do anything...

"Tune with no bite. Tune with no reach..."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Consider This A Warmup

    Okay. Tony Harris said something dumb on Facebook, and as I don't want to be accused of quoting selectively, here's the post:

    I pass over the random capitalization, the appalling avoidance of the enter key and the all caps that goes on for about three lines. It also doesn't help his argument when he uses phrases like "CON-HOT" and "GREAT Boobies." (Punctuation his.)

    He also sounds blustery and defensive when he starts calling the women/girls/etc liars. It makes him look pathetic and it's lashing out against the audience. Not the way to go.

    There's three parts to this. The shortest one first, which is the poser part, the second one, which is the unspoken assumptions implicit in his Facebook post, and the third, much thornier one, the parts that have to do with gender.


    The posers he's talking about are simply people who are excited but since they're new to the media needs to learn more. Be kind, man! It doesn't hurt you! You want to help posers, because no one, yourself included, came out of the womb with a deep and abiding love for things Jack Kirby drew. You learned about it because people clued you into what was special and exciting that was by and large unknown.


    His Facebook post does absolutely nothing for comics fans male or female that's positive. It paints men at cons as stunted, overgrown children and females dressing up as emotional vampires, dressing scantily because they desire attention that they can't get in the world outside of conventions.

    And, as a micro thing, does that go on? It must. There are simply too many humans converging on a place for it not to happen anywhere and in my time going to conventions, I have to imagine I've run across at least one attractive cosplayer who wants attention and at least one person who is badly equipped emotionally. No question.

    But that being the rule seems unlikely and insults everyone who attends conventions. It assumes a cynical, lazy view of people and one which demeans their integrity before an exchange of ideas even begins.



    But back to the aggrieved party here, which is the women dressing up at conventions.

    What they actually need are more people creating and writing female characters trying to keep in mind how their wives, daughters and friends would feel dressed up like that. It's a rabbit hole that better people than me have leaped into already.

    We pause, briefly, to note that most of the people who created those female characters those 100% no bullshit geeks look up to were men and they created those characters without thinking about how their wives or daughters or friends would feel dressed like that and THAT is the issue that we're all trying to be better about now.

    And here's the weird bit: I know people like the ones Mr. Harris is talking about and I know people like the ones he is painting with the same brush. On my way back from a Halloween party, I was reading Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy on the bus, when one of the most attractive women I've seen this year asked me if I knew the character was coming back in Young Avengers in January.

    I said yes, and we had a very nice conversation about it, once I got over my surprise. She went off with her friends to the train and I continued on my way back home because I had to work in the morning. She's legit and she's super attractive. That this exists isn't impossible and more damningly for Mr. Harris, fairly common. She also doesn't need anyone external, male or otherwise to validate her geek cred.

    The idea that there needs to be some kind of external validation for being "geek enough" is also disappointing, but that's a story for another day.

    In speaking too broadly, Mr. Harris does himself a disservice and comics fans even worse. To his point that he was consciously trying to make: Bad people are bad. We agree. It's not something that needs to be put on blast. I look forward to whatever he's drawing next.


     Hi guys. It's been a while. Sorry. It's been gone, but it's for a good cause. I've been listening to Self Defense Family a lot. This song is one of my favorites that they've done.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Invisible

I need to clear my head about Wonder Woman #7. I'm going to divide this up into "facts," "analysis/opinions" and "what I'm gonna do." Because this is an issue that ought to be dealt with as precisely as possible.

A bit of a thing, I'm trying to draw a distinction between the characters owned by DC Comics and what our collective imagination of a race of warrior women is. Amazons (TM) is the trademarked, Amazons is the cultural imaginary.

Okay. Go.


The most current issue of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chang's Wonder Woman Hephaestus tells Diana that the Amazons (TM) have produced children by seducing sailors and then murdering those sailors after the lustful men had fertilized the women. After they were pregnant, the Amazons (TM) sold the male children to Hephaestus to make weapons.

Whatever the imaginary was for Amazons, it was based in a culture that hated and feared them and so their stories about them would necessarily be bigoted and prejudiced against them.

The Amazons (TM) (as in the trademarked intellectual property of DC Comics, "created" by Marston) are meant to be something empowering for women, according to their creator.


This issue is the first in a multi-issue arc.

Diana is the only female character descending into Hell.

In issue #4, the implication was that the entire population of Paradise Island was turned into goddamned snakes and Wonder Woman's mother was turned into a statue, begging for mercy from Athena.

This issue is the first in a multi-issue arc.


I'd quote Too Busy Thinking About Comics writing about this, but it should be read in its whole. Smart and well thought out. Also, probably right. What he's saying specifically is that Azzarello turned the Amazons (TM) into two of the most pernicious lies about women, not just that they'll seduce good honest men, but also kill them afterwards. Basically: The Amazons (TM) as honey-traps! That's the DCU in 2012! Women as psycho killers!

Worth mentioning, quickly, that men are also psycho killers in Wonder Woman. They're enabling child soldiers in Africa, murdering three women in the first issue and cheating on their wife. If Azzarello's point is also everybody sucks, it's unclear, so far, that he needs to go to the extent of murder rape to make his point.

Though, given that the difference in truths learned between issues 2-4 piled uncomfortable revelation on top of uncomfortable revelation, there is value in saying "let's wait till the arc is over."

I hope this is a fake out.

Maybe, by having the Amazons (TM) doing the things that men are known to do throughout history, Azzarello is saying, not subtly, that this happens in the real world, to women and not by them? Hopefully? Probably as unlikely as two waltzing mice, but hope springs eternal.

This topic sucks the air out of my love for comics. I'll passionately talk about them with my friends, I'm a fucking evangelical for the medium, but, just thinking about this storyline too long leaves me angry and exhausted. At bottom, I'm disappointed and I didn't think Azzarello would be the one to disappoint me.

What I'm Gonna Do:

Azzarello has enough good faith stored up with me that I'll finish the arc. 100 Bullets earned him at least that much. When you add Joker and Luthor to that mix, I'll give him another half of a Wonder Woman arc. That good faith is being spent.

To try to wring some good out of this, when I go next week to pick up my comic books, I'll pre-order Kelly Sue DeConnick's Ms. Marvel relaunch. That seems like one of the better ways to signal my support for female heroes that are written by good writers. Yes. And, with next week, hopefully comes the long delayed next issue of Casanova.

This feels apropos, of course, because Casanova's writer, Mr. Matt Fraction, is married to Kelly Sue DeConnick.

The origin of the title is hard to pin down but in my mind it comes from the Rocket From The Crypt song "I'm Not Invisible." I don't even know right now. But, man, after looking at Wonder Woman #7, in the DCU, women are being made invisible real quick.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Relentless Masters

We all have our white whales, right? We all have these objects we're looking for, these final pieces in a collection of things that make the whole thing fit together.

These segments which define how we search.

I flicker idly through CDs, whenever I go to a store that still carries them, for a copy of the Envy/Jesu split released by Hydrahead Records. It's not that I don't have the songs already, I do, but at the price iTunes asks for the split (roughly 13 bucks, Envy's side is about 16 minutes, at three tracks, Jesu's is almost 22 spread over two tracks) I may as well search for the CD.

And when Tower Records or Virgin Megastore still existed, I was fat and happy on the search. But now, the only places that survive sell used CDs, only vinyl or are Best Buy. This isn't mourning the loss of those stores. I've done that already, years ago. Forever 21 is where the Virgin Megastore and it hurt the first time I saw it. There's no longer even a dull ache. That battle got lost.

Real briefly: CDs weren't making as much money as they used to, because of a number of reasons, copying had something to do with it, but…it was also the fact that the public knew there was a tremendous markup and collusion to keep the price above about ten bucks.

So: With Virgin Megastore, Tower Records and local record stores stocking these loss leaders, real vulnerable, major labels (the people who create most artists and CDs) decided that price could be allowed to dip below $10, at Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Dedicated record stores got the bum end of the deal. Big box stores had everything their customers wanted, but cheaper and with the powers of a massive corporation behind them. So those dedicated record stores went out of business. When the economics of the music business went from bad to worse, Wal-Mart and Best Buy divested themselves of their esoteric stock…which meant that the record labels who turned to Best Buy to carry their not Top 40 and evergreen stock suddenly had nowhere to go but the same record stores they had shit on.

There's only a couple places to go now and I know that what I want is out of print and is unlikely to reappear. The search continues, but it's futile.

But the desire in the search doesn't quite go away. I jumped into comic books about the time the ship of music had finally begun to sink for good. There's an argument I've traded one sinking ship for another and it's true, but comic stores still have lots of places and nooks to check for back stock. The search lives on.

Thus, whenever I go to a convention, I spend the majority of my time peering over longboxes looking for specific issues or specific collections.

Since the two collections I look for both start with the letter Q, I can tell pretty quickly these days what the odds are that a place'll have what I want. Both volumes have basically the perfect scarcity: They went out of print only recently, so there's a solid enough chance of being in the next forgotten half price bin that I keep looking, because the next one could be the last one.

The two volumes are:

1) The first Definitive Edition of Queen and Country, by Greg Rucka, a man who used to write for DC, and perhaps his most challenging work for that company was for a character called The Question.
2) The first of the six collections of the 36 issue ongoing series of The Question, which in turn, inspired Greg Rucka. This is called Zen and Violence.

That first Definitive Edition of Queen and Country, came back in print at the time when the publisher (Oni Press) relaunched their logo and I bought one, so that item can be crossed out, technically, but it's a second edition of a book, along with three other first editions. It's crossed out, but it might not be finished. Siiiiiiiiiiigh.

But! Zen and Violence is still out of print. And, thanks to the vagaries of fate, and a couple hours before my flight out of Tri-State area, I indulged in the search when I was in New York City.

I searched, high and low, for two hours, like a madman, for a copy of Zen and Violence.

I got up early, put far too much money into the New York City public transit system, and descended into the labyrinth of the NYC subway system and got to it. Of course, this is a Monday morning in NYC, so no self-respecting comic store is going to open before 11. So, I stopped into A MAJOR NEW YORK BOOKSTORE THAT PRIDES ITSELF ON MILES AND MILES OF BOOKS, to the better part of a half hour. I managed to leave with two deeply discounted philosophy books and a decent paperback by Lawrence Block, a New York author with many titles to his credit including Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America.

By that time, Forbidden Planet, apparently three blocks down the street, opened.

I left my bag with the attendant and went directly to work. Checked, first, the normal section. Then, I went to the place where, if it was there at all, it'd be there. The sale books. Not there either. I took a chance and found a gent with just enough tattoos to be knowledgeable, and asked about Zen and Violence.

Turns out, the guy who I asked, owned a copy of the volume himself. I remarked to him that looking for the volume itself felt like a search, which, given that I'm looking for the Question, it feels appropriate. (As I said that, I realized the truth of it.) He gave me three suggestions, one, St. Mark's Comics, Roger's Time Machine and the bookstore I already left. From there, I ran, back to THAT SAME MAJOR NEW YORK BOOKSTORE,

(A DIGRESSION REGARDING THAT MAJOR NEW YORK BOOKSTORE: It thinks of itself as the flagship for independent bookstores or whatever, but it somehow can't direct me to any of their paperbacks by Raymond Chandler. So, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck that place.)

where I tore through their actually sizable comics and graphic novel section and did not find Zen and Violence. But! I found a copy of Greg Rucka's Stumptown on sale for $20. Greg Rucka is the next writer of note to pen the faceless hero's adventure.

And I'd been meaning to buy the comic, but the $30 price put me off of it. It's a sumptuous edition. It's not beautiful. But it's striking, well-designed, with excellent use of color, except for printing the excellent Matt Fraction introduction in black, which makes it hard to read against the deep aqua. It's probably worth the money.

But, as I was running from AFOREMENTIONED MAJOR NEW YORK BOOKSTORE to St. Martin's, the thought percolated, finally, like a finally drinkable batch of coffee: I still haven't found Zen and Violence, but look at what I've found along the way: Another Greg Rucka series involving a PI, two foundational pieces of philosophy and another entry in a blue chip New York mystery author.

I found, in other words, most of the ingredients for the Question. But, I also was made aware of the joy of finding things along the way. The journey itself ought to be enjoyed. The search has value independent of its endpoint.

Roger's Time Machine opened too late for me to able to go there and safely make my flight, so after St. Mark's was a bust, I took the subway back to collect my suitcase. And that makes me sad. That title, though? Relentless Masters? It's a 108 song, but also; Roger's Time Machine is the first place I'll visit the next time I'm in NYC. The search continues.

Not Relentless Masters, interestingly enough. There's things to say about this song, A Far Off Reason, but really, the riff is gorgeous. It's envy, and it's titanic in scope. I think, anyway. As always, play loud. Listen, friends, to that riff.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Life Is Poetic OR Data Recovery And Borges

So, through my own negligence and simply four years of use, my laptop crashed. It wouldn't turn on and when I heard a clak clak claking sound inside the case, I assumed the hard drive had finally had enough of my sophistic bullshit and died honorably.

This computer contained the scattered notes, the half finished drafts, the almost finished drafts, the conversations, the things I thought might conceivably be important for posterity or to take a look back at how I acted back in the day for seven years on. It contained songs, it contained books, .pdfs and whatever else i thought would be cool.

It would suck to lose those things, right? Thus, I went to tech support. (It got fixed, so don't worry about me.)

And it took me about a week or so to get to tech support because my life at the time was a little bit nuts and things had to get done and sleep had to be had and so on. I was slugging my way through Borges' Labyrinths at the time. Labyrinths is set up in three different parts, the largest part, which comprises two thirds of the book, are his incredible fictions, the second part, roughly two thirds of the remainder, is Borges' non-fiction work, and the final part is Borges' parables.

It's Borges' themes that concern us at the moment.

These themes tend to be knowledge imperfectly remembered, knowledge glimpsed once, knowledge forgotten, unnoticed knowledge that sinks into ordinary life or knowledge unrecognized.

I sit, on a train, re-reading the last piece of "A New Refutation of Time" for the fourth time, before I turn the page, trying to make sense of it and the thought pops into my head: Do I want the flotsam of my life back?

Aside from the one interview that wasn't quite transcribed and the current projects, do I really need and would my life be made more profitable by having access to those memories again?

I don't have an answer, but as the train approached the station, I leaned into the sliding door. I also leaned towards no. There would be things I'd miss. Doubtless. But all that evidence of my failures, the remains of the deceptions I was a party to, the bad writing and the record all of my cowardice felt like another extra 40 pounds on my body.

When I thought "I hope it is all lost" it felt insincere, I felt like I was lying to myself as I walking out of the underground. Or maybe the feeling was that I…wasn't strong enough to actually be okay with it. Something Borges wrote armored me, though. There was an essay on Cervantes, in which Borges compared Cervantes to other others, Joseph Conrad and Henry James and what they put in their stories. Borges said the following, which struck me when I first read it: "Conrad and Henry James wrote novels of reality because they judged reality to be poetic."

Walking up the stairs to have my computer to be judged, I know that they're right. Perhaps I could have been reading Phillip K. Dick and that might be slightly more appropriate, but at the time, I was just coming out of a tangle of underground tunnels and platforms, through an visible but unseen maze of human ingenuity and creation. Or as Borges would put it, "[A] labyrinth designed by men and destined to be deciphered by men." This is precisely who I should be reading at that moment.

Those feelings of hardly communicable poetry and discovery of possible connections between the planes of fiction and reality held me. A post-facto moment of glory or madness or presumption: Is this how Borges saw the world?

There were a few parables left in the book. So, after checking in, I sat down on a bench inside and read. I completed the book. I won't say finished because finished is definitive and I get the feeling I ain't never done with Borges. I might set down Labyrinths, but I've got his complete fictions on that same bookshelf and it's many, many pages larger.

I read the last parable and waited.

Eventually, I had to read the same stories again. The ending to "The House of Asterion" gave me an idea, one that I don't have the talent to do all myself, but I have the tools at my fingertips. My mind flared up with two ideas. I see something, but I don't think I can do it. I heard my name called and the cherubic, clean shaven, polite tech support guy gave me the good news: The problem was all in the software, it could be fixed all for free!

Everything could be backed up and I should do that, he says, because your information is important, right?

Oh, of course.

I navigated the maze of public transportation back to my apartment with a spring in my step.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two Thousand And Eleven in Two Thousand Twelve

I failed last year.

Regardless of whether I did or not: In 2011, I feel my listening habits were too conservative. A quick scroll of my inbox shows, in stark relief, as to the PR people doing their due diligence to drum up blog chatter for their clients, and the ones I bit on were ones I already knew about. More than that, though: Even if I didn’t have PR comped YouSendIt links or official downloads, I could still have used, let’s say, unauthorized sources and listened to the music. I didn’t. Hell, I downloaded some records and never fucking right clicked and scrolled down to Open With Spotify, because I shielded myself in what I already knew.

Yes, I was in Rome. Yes, I was in London. This year, the routine bit down hard. I lost and I think it shows here.

Run For Cover blew up this year based on great records by YOUNG STATUSES, SEAHAVEN and DAYTRADER. Or, so I hear anyway. I didn’t listen to any of them. Shit! DEAD TO ME released their followup to African Elephants in Moscow Penny Ante. Nope. Didn’t hear it. POS’s crew, DOOMTREE, put out a crew record, hotly anticipated by humans, I guess and I didn’t listen to it. No Kings? No idea.

It isn’t a matter of “not getting to a record,” it’s a matter of having the record in my hands and not playing it. Where it matters to you, reader, is that this list well, it is going to be mostly made up of bands you expect to appear, with their newest entries.

What almost made the list was Do Not Resuscitate by Most Precious Blood (see previous blog post) and Polar Bear Club's Clash Battle Guilt Pride. I found Do Not Resuscitate too late for it to be eligible in my head. (I hadn't really lived with it for a couple weeks to put it on here.) Like almost every other Polar Bear Club record, tracks 6-8 drag and the closer "3-4 Tango" does not overwhelm me like "Chasing Hamburg," "Convinced I'm Wrong" or "Most Miserable Life." So. Close but no cigar.

Non-2011 CDs that deserve their own mentions are Attica! Attica!'s Napalm and Nitrogen, which finds Marathon frontman Aaron Scott slowing down and playing piano more and more often and the Steal's Bright Grey. Bright Grey is a clamarous, jubilant flare loosed into the permanent dusk of hardcore punk. Saying it's for fans of 7 Seconds and Minor Threat sounds too good to be true, but listen to the 40 second opening track "The Possibilities Are Endless," know that the rest of the record is that good and in that same vein and then tell me I'm wrong.

Plus, it's only/sadly 17 minutes long. It'll be over before you know who got voted off Project Runway or Top Chef.

Of the CDs that came out in 2011, my favorites are:

Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me by TOUCHE AMORE. Speaking of being dead wrong…I’M PARTING! THE SEA! BETWEEN BRIGHTNESS! AND ME! Now that that’s out of the way, like RUINER’s Prepare To Be Let Down, it’s a so called full length of fast little monsters with sharp sharp teeth that need a hastily composed piano song to qualify as an LP, but there’s thirteen tracks here that are unafraid to wield the butterfly knife to rend the fat from the meat of the song.

13 Chambers by WUGAZI. If you’re trying to keep score of who wins on this mashup, you’ve missed the point. That the alchemy works at all is the real success. Marvel at the time it took to put this thing together, sure. But listen to it like a real record and it rewards you like one.

Darker Handcraft by TRAP THEM. I don’t think I can say it clearer than Darker Handcraft is like a IED, a visible, but unseen killing device whose purpose is not awe or spectacle but nauseating, unforeseeable murder.

Gospel by FIREWORKS. The fast songs are NEW FOUND GLORY by way of BAD RELIGION. The slow songs are pretty, anchored by the nonchalance of vocalist Dave Mackinder. This record is divisive, I guess, but I’m staunchly pro.

Suburbia I’ve Given You All But Now I’m Nothing by THE WONDER YEARS. The singles on this thing are blindingly good. So good, in fact, they make up for the dragging acoustic songs that flesh out Suburbia, but do so blandly.

England Keep My Bones by FRANK TURNER. There is nuance, there is delicacy, there is sentiment, but what holds all these things together is that the songs are inspiring. I want to live up to these songs. These songs make me want, deep down, to reach beyond whatever I think my grasp is…

Roads to Judah by DEAFHEAVEN. Is this black metal? I don’t listen to black metal. But I listen to DEAFHEAVEN. So help me out here: Do I listen to black metal?

Empty Days and Sleepless Nights by DEFEATER. Like WUGAZI, that the proof of concept works is the success. It leans on the clutches of the noir genre a little too heavily, but okay. This is hardcore punk. We’ve always been okay with a little overkill, so long as it’s shot through with emotion.

The Anarchy And The Ecstasy by THE WORLD/INFERNO FRIENDSHIP SOCIETY. Deemphasizing the electric guitar worked wonders, even if they got a little overly melodramatic. Wait. That last record was about Peter Lorre running from Nazis, wasn’t it? Well, drama is what they do.

Year One by HAWKS AND DOVES. “Maybe I’m the only one, Sartaj thought, with stories about silent sex, far sex, aching sex…painful gloom-ridden bitter lonely sex.” Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra, p. 215.

(Originally written for pastepunk.com and cleaned up for here. Obviously.)

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