Hailz

HI. I’m Daniel.

Here is my introduction. It’s not long as I have some other things to do today, but here is a taste of what you’ll be getting from me. A mix of metal, eccentric music and electronic is what you’ll find on my posts, and probably things going on in the world, and movie suggestions, OH! and website suggestions.

Just a little about me, I’m from Chattanooga, Tennessee. I live in a mountainous, deciduous terrain. Its a really dreamy little town.  I’m a music person, I’ve played in thrash/punk/hardcore bands, but my main gig these past 3 years has been electronic music production and DJing.

Here are two songs for my post!

AGRIMONIA is a very mind expanding “crust” band. I would rather just call them what they are, Swedes playing metal. They always do a good job.

JOYLESS. I’ve REALLY been into this album / band. For fans of Royal Trux. This is some more Scandinavians playing some expansive shit. This is like 90s rock and folk and country being played by ex black metallers from Forgotten Woods. Enjoy.

That’s all for now,

D.

Identity Crisis: (not so?) Briefly On Kreayshawn

Erik, no one cares about Kreayshawn anymore. She blew up like two months ago and you are just getting around to talking about her and we’re already on to the next thing that you have not been paying attention to. So, why for the love of god, you fat, old man, with your Raw Nerve 7″s and your Lungfish reissues (that consequently the kids also don’t care about) are you bringing this up now? Denman already dropped science about this Oakland rapper lady back in May. What is it that you could possibly want to add to this conversation?

All valid statements from the peanut gallery that is raging inside my head as I type this. But see, I can’t stop thinking about Kreayshawn. The infectious flow and beat of “Gucci Gucci” is out of control; delivered by this five foot three, petite young woman, with hoop earrings you could drive a Plymouth through, and hair that looks like it was made in a factory by the nimble hands of child laborers in Kuala Lumpur, rather than put together at a beauty salon. But Kreayshawn, like a lot of young hip hop artists bothers me. There is a lack of authenticity that I don’t seem to be the only one bothered by, but there is also this new, harsher use of language by today’s youth that I just don’t understand.

First and foremost, Kreayshawn is not the first midget white lady to drop some mad science. I am shocked at how much the internet seems to forget with its long line of information available but it’s utterly short attention span. Back in 2005, the internet, by way of Great Brittain gave us Lady Sovereign, who wreaked havoc on the world, got signed by Jay-Z, made some amazing singles and then seemed to fade out. The question of authenticity was raised then, but Lady Sovereign’s witty, grime delivered rhymes included her own self deprecation and silly appreciation, often in the same breath was fun. Not being a grand follower of Grime or understanding British Hip-Hop which is probably much more complicated than the US Hip-Hop scene, I can’t say with any authority that the SOV was not authentic. But nothing felt forced. Clearly, Lady S was not trying too hard, and yet it was still fun to listen to.

So the first thing that bothers me about Big K here is the name itself. Kreayshawn sounds like one of those made up names consisting of two or more names that you’ve actually heard. And while this may sound terrible, my experience in corporate America has taught me that such practices are fairly common among mothers and fathers in African-American families. None of my middle class white friends have kids whose names have hyphens in them is the point I’m trying to get. I’m not bagging on the practice, in fact, I think it’s cool. How many more god damn Sarah’s and Laura’s and Kelly’s do I need to know in my life? But Kreayshawn was not named Kreayshawn at birth and her parents clearly are not of the community in which one finds this to be acceptable by their peer. It would be awesome if they were, but they named her Natassia Gail Zolot, which is already unusual enough. It’s been suggested that Natassia’s stage name is the bastardization of Creation, and if so, it’s not a very good one. Natassia is exotic and interesting enough there pipsqueak. There is nothing authentic in this whatsoever. It’s the adaptation of, rather than the reinvention of a theme that does not fit the personality. At all.

The search for authenticity continues in the “Gucci Gucci” video as pointed out far more poignantly by others. Kreayshawn is supposedly a part of the The White Girl Mob, but this video lacks any kind of mob of white kids, let alone white girls. Or girls, or bitches as she loves to refer to women as (we’ll get to this). The video is a mob of young, black men, the industry standard for the supposed audience of hip-hop. Even though white boys, from small cities are generally the one’s coping  hip-hops worst en mass. I’m glad she’s claiming love for other little teeny girl white shorties, I guess(?). But I don’t see it, here, in your break through video/song, Kreayshawn. What I see is you, a token entry into a community that I see no connection to. The kids aren’t decked out in the ridiculous uniforms, the black teen boys you surround yourself with, are pretty much in the same clothes that kids have worn for years. You seem out of touch, not down to earth at all. And is it just me, or does this feel like Kreayshawn is the masters wife out in the field? It’s not a delicate image to have transmitted at you and I can’t think of any equally poetic or polite way to point that out. But she’s decked out, obviously not in Gucci or Prada or whatever she’s allegedly railing against, but definitely her fashion sets her not just apart, but above the black, male youth she is exploiting for authenticity.

Finally, and only because the internet works so fast, I can’t help but wonder what the end game is for her. Nothing about the image feels authentic or looks authentic. It might not be as far-stretching as Lady Gaga, the current queen of visual manipulation (yet), but it seems like an act. A ride down her tumblr account recently shows a much more subtle, plane Kreayshawn. Further, recent news indicates that she is now the mastermind behind the soon to be released new music video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is a band I love, but I am a 34-year-old white male whose sensibilities were produced in the 90’s. I love them, but they are the bloated, outdated rock stars that hip-hop is supposed to be railing against, not embracing them. This seems highly careerist of her with the benefits more to RHCP gaining youth market validity while she just looks like she grasping.

I’m old, I get it. I’m continually reminded of this  with the continuation of Glee, The Bear and The Bunny and Ke$ha’s continued career that was not laughed out of the executive office of a so-called major label recording company. I am not a target audience for anyone, anymore. The times in which media dabbled in Death Metal and Punk Rock seem to be over, having co-opted what they wanted from it and filtering it out of public awareness. Kreayshawn, despite her so-called swagger and anti-feminist front is a safe bet. In fact, it’s this lack of authenticity that makes it perfectly reasonable to assume she will succeed where Lady Sovereign failed. She is non-threatening, if ridiculous looking. But me, I don’t get why it’s so intoxicating now.

Lungfish – Unanimous Hour Reissue

Lungfish
Unanimous Hour
Dischord Records

If it comes as any surprise to you at this point, that I am now, and have always been a Lungfish worshiper, then clearly you are not one of those people who has followed me from blog to blog as I spread the gospel anytime said band, or any of their members does anything. This is a mistake on your part. As our time on this planet slowly passes around the sun, hurling in the spiral of a galaxy the rockets through the universe, the legend of Lungfish grows, the devotees numbers increase, and thus the religious experience deepens. Lungfish are not one of those bands that would cash in on this new-found audience or attempt to relive past glories. Nor are they interested in explaining the mystique or mystery. Like their Down City brethren in Fugazi, the Baltimore quartet is content to exist in the riddle. Will they or won’t they isn’t so much the question, for their body of work speaks in tongues unlike any heard before them. It is the majestic that propels the legend forward.

It helps that Dischord records is in a state of true archiving now. The mission of the label was always to capture a scene and a moment and as the founders find themselves actually fathering children and shifting from the present scene to the legacy they were a part of, attention is being paid to the back catalog and the archives left by giants. Last year the label reissued Pass and Stow, an album that sat squarely at the epicenter of the Lungfish output in what is thought to be the reissue of the entire catalog. It was met with gratitude by fans of the band. Most of us devour the bands entire 11 album catalog, but the added attention to the details sometimes buried by inadequate technology created a more lush and burning Lungfish then we had ever heard before.

The trend continues now with the reissue of Unanimous Hour. Here, we find a Lungfish at the top of their game and at their most experimental. Preceded by the stark Artificial Horizons,  an album that was so saturated in heavy guitar and repetition, Lungfish challenge the notions that they are a one trick pony on Unanimous Hour. Sure, you get the drone heavy trudgers here like “Mated” or album opener “Space Orgy”. But here, on Unanimous Hour, Lungfish once again turn the dial and show you something completely new.

The reverberating “God’s Will”, which includes Fugazi’s Ian MacKaye doing one of his best vocal performances, is a repetitious ballad to a higher power. This of course is the first hint at Higgs’s devotion to something greater that the public is just recently beginning to get more insight into. The song is soft and delicate and radiates out with a swirling guitar note that seems to burst and bloom from the center of the song. On “Metatron” the band mostly drops out for a near A cappella performance by singer and lyricist Daniel Higgs. This is a spooky, nearly neo-folk performance accompanied more by sound scape than actual song, though a simple acoustic guitar can be found nearly buried in the background.

The real treat of this album, and one that is done kindly by the new remixing and remastering treatment is epic album closer “Hallucinatorium”. This 7:52 second ditty swings along quiet and slowly like a brutal lullaby, the band seemingly tempering themselves. It was also somewhat recently revealed in a review by DC’s Aaron Leitko this songs interesting history. The even slower, weirder second half is the result of a trick employed by producer Ian Mackaye to fit the lyrical output of the prolific and esoteric Higgs. The song is haunting as it is slowed to a crawl. The guitar strings feel pulled at with great effort. The bass and drums feel doused in pseudoephedrine and Higgs drags out his words, the trademark bark forming, but never exploding from the back of his throat.

Unanimous Hour always seemed light and soft and remained understated in the bands canon, at least it did for me. Considering too this was the album that was released around the time that I discovered the band, it’s rather amusing to me that today, it stands out as such a different album. If you had asked me which album should be reworked and released first, Unanimous Hour would not have originally been my first choice, but as it follows Pass and Stow on this great reworking project, I am glad to find things in this album that I once missed out on. The record industry, from large corporate conglomerates to epic indies are all feeling the pinch, and so often these reissues feel like cash cows. But Dischord, always with grace isn’t attempting to bring back old fans, but instead to make available it’s catalog at the highest quality sound. Of course there is no other band on the planet that I want more of, the legend of their vaults is almost as epic as the band themself, but Dischord choses instead to offer the albums as they have always stood, relying not on gimmicks and the promise of low rent b-sides, but the actual power of the albums as they were recorded, imagined, conceived and presented. The higher quality mastering makes for a much deeper sonic experience which comes from a desire to capture the best of the bands as times change. Unanimous Hour is a needed record, as all Lungfish albums are, but it’s one whose new treatment exemplifies all that Lungfish created.

Richie Records: Beer ads, singles, and the NFL

I still remember the day Richie Charles, owner of RICHIE RECORDS//TESTOSTERTUNES sent me one of his first releases ever. Having never heard or seen the HOMOSTUPIDS before, all I was told was that they were the greatest band in Cleveland. Pretty much once I dropped the needle I had to admit Richie and the few others that told me that were 100% correct. Later Richie releases records from such critical darlings like  KURT VILE (“Overnite KV!!!” CD-R, “Hunchback” 12″) and the awesome HOME BLITZ  (“Out of Phase” LP) to this day though, I still always have my copy of FACTORYMEN “Shitman” LP in my play pile. The consistency of Richie’s releases has been flooring to say the least, he can release something like the High Rise meets GG Allin rawness of the PURLING HISS “Hissteria” LP then go right to the complete full on retardation of the BRAINWASHED YOUTH 7″. Every release is different from the one before, and that’s what makes every record he releases worth checking out. In a music climate where people jump from blog trend to blog trend, Richie is putting out records that he would want for himself. If you like it, that’s cool, if you don’t who cares, Richie is putting it out so he can have it in his record collection. It’s been awesome to watch this record label grow from day 1, so I have decided to forego the long interview (you can read that one here), and ask him stuff we normally talk about when having a beer (ok I do dork it up a bit with the singles, but really check out the great choices).

1.) One of the best records you have ever done is the FACTORYMEN – SHITMAN LP. What were your first impressions when steve sent it to you? The depth of that record is pretty amazing, is it something you still throw on to this day? You do realize no other record you’ve put out comes close to how awesome this lp is.

Yeah, Shitman is a hell of an album. I still think that the b-side is one of the hardest 15 or so minutes made in my time. Blank Dream is a modern classic. All I know for sure is that when Steve sent me the cd for Shitman, I didn’t take it out of my car’s cd player for weeks. Jammed it real loud & proud.

2.)  Man that Purling Hiss record rips. It’s good to listen to with a nice cold beer. Speaking of beer Sharkey tells me you were in a TV ad?

Yeah, that Purling Hiss one is something else. And yes, I am in a television ad for Kenzinger Beer. It’s been airing during Sportscenter in Philadelphia.

3.) What is your take on the NFL lockout? Eagles still look to be in prime position in NFC east, their D-line needs work though, thoughts?

Listen, I’m hopeful for an NFL season. Especially for the sake of thousands of regular people whose livelihood depends on the NFL. Camera crews, stadium vendors, bartenders, t-shirt bootleggers, etc. But as for the mechanics of the Eagles, I’m going to wait until at least August before I start occupying my mind with those types of concerns.

4.) I’m stoked that you put out that Brainwashed Youth 7″. Is there another release of theirs on the way?

I haven’t heard too much from those guys since the record came out. I notice that they’ve played once or twice in Cleveland. I’ll have to check back in with those guys. It was a privilege to put out that one. I’d be proud to do another.

5.) Grateful Dead’s Anthem of The Sun or Saccharine Trust Pagnicons or YDI Place In The Sun?

Realistically, Anthem of the Sun gets more time around my apartment. It’s a pleasant record. YDI’s Place in the Sun is the greatest record to come from Philadelphia. By far. I can’t even think of another pure punk or hardcore band from Philadelphia from any time that wasn’t pretty shitty. That YDI single is up there with Six Pack, Void demos, and Cows & Beer. I don’t have a copy of the single, just the compact disc on Parts Unknown. As for Paganicons… I hardly ever put that one on. All that down stroking, single note guitar stuff and those understated and sneering vocals hurt my head.

6.) Thought’s on the heat blowing it?

Well, I haven’t thought about it in a few weeks. I’m not any type of NBA fan, but it’s nice to see the smug fail. I’ve got some pals who probably agree. They hang out at a bar called Now That’s Class!

Richie: So, I was asked to come up with a list of some favorite singles. Here’s that list. These are some titles that never stray far from the turntable. The exception is Pick Your King. That one stays in the compact disc player or on the iPod.

POISON IDEA — Pick Your King
I don’t even have this one on vinyl. Don’t think I’ll ever open my wallet that wide. I’d be thrilled just to find a bootleg copy of the thing. I have it on a compact disc that I bought at a Rock N’ Roll Record & Memorabilia show at the Valley Forge Convention Center. It’s a super vicious American HC rager and it only relents for a few second to mock an entire genre and lifestyle in the song “(I Hate) Reggae”. Just about the greatest cover art you’ll ever find. Years later, I was astounded to learn that Pick Your King was packed onto a 7” and not an LP.

HOME BLITZ — s/t
A friend of mine told me about a record made by a young guy who worked at the Princeton Record Exchange. He heard it was pretty good. So I looked on the internet and learned that I could buy ten copies of the thing for fifteen dollars. Six years later, I still have seven copies. I became buds with the guy who made the record. Turns out he’s one of the brightest skulls of our time.

HUSKER DU — 8 Miles High
This, along with The Punchline by the Minutemen, is one of the very first records I ever bought. And both of ‘em have survived every single record purge I’ve ever ordered. The b-side is a loud, gnarled & thick live version of Masochism World. It was years and years before I ever bothered to hear the Byrds do the song. They do a respectable job with it, but Husker Du does it better.

JOHNNY & THE JUMPER CABLES — Death Camp of the Mind

Every so often a radio DJ or an events planner at a bar will invite me over to play records. This one comes with me every time. It’s just about the only time I ever put it on, but I should really listen to it more. It’s a muscular psychedelic hard rock record that may or may not have been made by veterans of a foreign war. **And I recently learned that this record was in fact made by a veteran: Ken Highland of Gizmos fame.

JUDGE — New York Crew
Totally bitchin’ NYHC. Macho & outraged with some threats of violence. Favorite line: Smokin’ that butt, it makes you mature. A slave to sex and you tell me you’re pure. Slammin’ that beer, it makes you a man. I’ll try to keep my cool, but you better understand…. UNDERSTAND!
Be warned: If you’re more than fifteen years old, it’s too late for you to hear this one for the first time.

KILLDOZER — The Pig Was Cool
A timeless, plodding story about almost getting busted. It’s got everything you want from Killdozer tune: heavy winding bass, metronome-like drums, squealing guitar, and Michael Gerard’s growling about rural partying and cheap thrills. The b-side, however, is something I hope to never hear again. It’s a cover of a song called “Unbelievable.” I didn’t like hearing it on the way to little league practice, and I still don’t like hearing it from Killdozer. Check their take on Cinnamon Girl if you want a real gnarly cover tune.

SEX PISTOLS — Anarchy in the U.K.
The most rabid Pistols fan has heard enough of Anarchy in the U.K. Even Megadeth and Green Jello fans have heard more than enough of that tune. But the b-side is a great one. It’s called I Wanna Be Me and it’s sharper than a lot of the stuff on Nevermind The Bullocks. The lyrics might have something to do about being hounded by the media. Choice line: A second of your life, ruined for life.

MIKEY WILD & THE MESS — I Hate New York
This is a pretty great single from a recently departed loose cannon about town. It’s a blues punk rock jam about hating New York and everything about that town, including the Rockettes. The flip is another winner and it’s all about revenge and putting you on ice. A few years back, I had entertained the idea of releasing a record by Mikey. He had been doing acoustic versions of his classic tunes and he had a great cover of Helter Skelter. Ultimately I ditched the idea, as he could be a difficult personality to deal with. He will be missed.

BLACK FLAG — Six Pack
Six Pack isn’t exactly my favorite Flag number, but the -side to this one is unmatched. “I’ve Heard it Before” & “American Waste”: a pair of tunes that foam at the mouth. These are two of the meanest tunes Ginn ever put to tape. It’s a bummer that they got left behind when Dez put down the microphone to play guitar.