Rainbow of Death + recent shows


Put this motherfucker on first thing in the morning while you're waiting for the water to boil and your day will be replete with joy. Somehow blurring the lines between J-pop, fastcore, and mid-tempo punk, Rainbow of Death unleashed a full-frontal assault back in 2007 when this EP came out. Who knows why I didn't hear about it until a couple months ago, but now I'm addicted. Blast-beat driven walls of white noise give way to dance party punk parts that eventually segway into just a fragment of catchy, sing-song melody before shifting right back into powerviolent noise. Over and over. Pop-violence? Something like that.

Later, on side B, you hear some caterwauling feedback that turns into a mock-"Reign in Blood" intro before morphing into a riff that's a little more 80's D.C. punk than Kerry King's whammy-bar rants. It's a neat little trick they pull.
This whole album is an absolute treat. Check out their other band, Monarch, if you want to hear what the near-polar opposite of this band sounds like. Fuck I wish this band was still around and going on tour in the states!

I'm pretty sure this thing is out of print...luckily someone sold me their copy last week! Check ebay.


II. 2 quick show reviews:

-Captured by Robots / justinbailey @ the Spanish Moon

I first heard CBR when I was working a terrible restaraunt job and my coworker put it on the stereo in the kitchen. There's gimmick bands and then there's GIMMICK BANDS and CBR falls into the latter category. For the uninitiated: this dude built robots and programmed them be his backing band. Awesome premise, no doubt, but how does it translate live? Personally, I thought it was pretty boring after the initial 15-minute shock of seeing these things move around and "play" their parts. The music is nothing special and the dude's personality in between songs was a bit grating. For $8, I wasn't complaining. Justinbailey opened up the show and did what they do so well: a blend of metal, hardcore, emo, and punk that effectively sidesteps all the bad parts of all those genres mixed in with a healthy dose of drunken bombast. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't drunk enough on a cold weeknight to give them their due. You gotta see them on a Saturday night during summer when everyone's ready to let loose. It's really somethin else.

-Melters / Lovey Doveys @ The Circle Bar (New Orleans)

I don't care if it's biased that I review my friends' bands. This was a great show. Melters have that sweet new-wave-informed-pop-punk melodic sensibility crossed with Nirvana's fuck-it attitude. The hooks are simply undeniable and the drumming is as solid as you'll find 'round these parts. The two ladies next to me at the show remarked, "Usually you have to sit through some crap before the band you want to see comes on, but this is awesome! What a nice surprise!"

The Lovey Doveys share a little DNA with the Melters but have a way beefier sound and a more drunken presentation. Grunge via the Replacements? It rules, whatever the case. Great hooks, plenty of heartfelt attitude, oh...and that totally rad Jaguar Bass. Man I wanted to steal that thing, and I don't even play bass.

This show was totally fun.


Now that we've finally found a wireless network to connect to at home, I can begin my slow climb up the monolithic slopes that make up the mountain range of new music that I've been missing out on. Last night I got my grubby paws on a slew of new and old releases, mainly punk and hardcore. Let's get things started:

PUNCH - S/T (2009 Discos Huelga)

Good god. This is where it's at. Absolutely crucial vegan straight-edge hardcore from the Bay Area with window-shattering vocals that kind of remind me of Kat from Salome at her screechiest. Quick songs, no bullshit, and brilliant lyrics:

Deodorant and Alzheimer’s? Deodorant and breast cancer? Forget it. You’re over reacting. Research shows nine out of ten consumers prefer the smell of chemicals to people, which certainly makes it easier to sell."

You need this band in your life, pronto.


Miniature Album Reviews

Here's a little list of new stuff/old stuff that I've been jamming.

Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
At first I was thinking this was way too twangy and country for me, but there are some incredible songs on here. "Hold On, Hold On" is so awesome that I listened to it 3 times in a row when I got a copy of this CD. Awesome harmonies and smart lyrics that aren't about love. The production is a little too slick for my tastes, but it works here.

Boris - Heavy Rock Hits 7" Series Vol. 1 & 2
I know you can't really predict this band's next step, but still I have to ask: just what in the hell is going on here? Vol. 1 starts off with a cool spacey indie thing called "8" but the B-side is some weird dance-y pop song. Ok, not so bad. But Vol. 2 expands on the pop stuff in a way that isn't very exciting at all. The song "Heavy Metal Addict" is the worst thing they've ever done. Just pure crap. I applaud all attempts to alienate fanbases, but this just wasn't really worth my money.

Young Widows & Melt-Banana - Split 7"
Two bands I like that have very little in common. On this 7" they both stick to the formula: a tense, driving thing from Young Widows and a spastic synthed-out rocker from Melt-Banana. Both solid songs, but the Young Widows side is waaaay two short. 7" records that spin at 45 aren't my favorite...by the time you sit down to look at the lyrics you have to get up to flip the record over. Good release, though.

Harvey Milk - 7"
Awesome record. Side one is a sludgy metal tune with an interesting hook and side two is a sort-of awkward Leonard Cohen song that totally works. Put this slab 'o wax on if you find yourself home alone and drunk late at night. Eclectic, and totally worth my $4.

Black Cobra @ Hi-Ho


My initial reasons for going to this show were threefold:

1. To see my friends in Haarp.
2. Black Cobra fucking rules.
3. To see Howl, who my band shared the stage with a couple times.

Despite the fact that I had been to New Orleans just a few days prior and would have to be back down there two days later, I hopped in Andrew's car thinking, what would I have done 4 years ago if there were a badass metal show in New Orleans on a weekday? The old me would kick the new me's ass if he knew I was thinking about skipping out on this show. So we went.

We walked in as Haarp was finishing their last song. Bummer. Still, Shaun was utilizing that 50ft mic cord by performing most of the this song at the back of the room, dripping sweat all over the floor and freaking out the people trying to get in the door. If you can make a death metal fan uncomfortable, you're doing something right. Once they were done packing up, I asked Shaun where Howl was. Apparently they were at home in Providence and had no idea the show was even happening. Huh. How about that.

We'd played with Black Cobra twice already (once at Gilman St. and once at SXSW) and I dug i
t both times, but the true awesomeness of this band didn't strike me until I heard their record. This is pretty much my shit right here. Think a heavier and more punk-influenced High on Fire sans guitar solos and less memorable vocals. Seems like that might not be that interesting, but the riffs are so driving, memorable, and interesting that it's not even an issue. This is the kind of music that makes you want to drink hard, live fast, and forget about your stupid job.

After the show we were convinced by The Mischevious Enabler and L.L. Raisin' Hell to grab a drink at The John, which was of course a terrible idea since they only serve doubles and I was getting tired. No rest for the weary, though. After a round we made our way to Verti Marte, where a very reluctant graveyard-shift worker bequethed a top-notch French Fry Po-Boy to me at a reasonable price. Possibly the best po-boy I've ever had in my life. In fact, I was going to give this show a 6.0, but that Po-Boy bumps it up a point. I got home at about 4:30am and went to work at 9am, and all I gotta say is that the 2005 version of me used to be able to get up in the morning a lot easier after a full night of metal in NOLA.

November update.


Let me just preface this by saying I paid more than I wanted to for this show, got pretty drunk, and was in a very critical mood that night. I arrived with Hope and Andrew during Coliseum's 3rd or 4th song. I've heard a bunch of hype about this band. Bryan did a show for them at Banks St. years ago, and they toured with High on Fire. Judging from the t-shirt designs I'd seen, I was expecting some brutal DIY punk-infused hardcore/metal...like something Profane Existence would give a favorable review to, but less crusty. Well, I was non-plussed when I heard some pretty tame metal with only a slight hardcore influence. Nothing special. You'd think the bassist was playing in Iron Maiden with the way he was jumping around and headbanging. All I could think is, "man, that guy must have to get pretty fucked up every night to enjoy this mediocre shit that much." Highlight of the night was the singer's comments in between songs about how believing in ghosts is stupid. Total agreement there. Skeptic til death for life!

Young Widows came on next. I've seen these guys maybe 3 or 4 times now, and while it's pretty much the same show everytime, it still never disappoints. The guitarist's Telecaster-through-a-full-stack tone is such a welcome break from the creamy tones I'm used to hearing from loud-ass bands (including my own, for that matter), and his use of slapback delay really gives it a unique spin. They have such a huge sound for just a three-piece; one that's part Jesus Lizard and part Breather-Resist, which is these dudes' older band. Rather than mindlessly meld a bunch of genres together to create a virtual melting pot of styles, they take a few different influences and put them together to create something unique. Success, gents.

Next came Russian Circles, who I'd seen a couple years back (I think they opened for Red Sparrowes). I don't remember feeling one way or another about them back then, honestly. And maybe it was the two double well whiskeys, but I was just not impressed at all with this band. I bet if I hadn't already heard Explosions in the Sky, Pelican, GS!YBE, and all of their not-as-good imitators, I'd be creaming myself over this band. But I am a jaded asshole who has seen more crappy bands in basements and shitty bars than is healthy, and it takes a really good band to make me interested in this style these days. To their credit, they were loud as all hell and had some decent heavy parts. Unfortunately, the riffs weren't interesting, the atmosphere not impressive, and their light show just made them look pretentious. Sorry, guys...

Everyone was talking about this show 3 months before it even went down, so I knew something was up. Part of me wanted to go just to see what all the fuss was about, but the cover charge was more than I would spend on a band I've never really heard. Fortunately (or not, depending on how you look at it), my friend Walt from Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? had just been on a tour with a band called Dark Dark Dark who toured with all the bands playing that night, and he got Hope and I on the guest list. Ok, let me just get the obvious jab out the way: More like WHY? does anyone give a shit about this band? My first instincts upon this nearly sold-out show were the pangs of utter confusion. I carefully assessed the situation: a bunch of random people I have never seen at shows watching a guy who looks your boy from At the Drive-In alternately rapping/singing with a live backing band. My eyes nervously scanned the room until I stumbled upon a clue that would provide the context I needed to understand the phenomenon happening before me: an Anticon shirt. Now I'll admit, I was way into the first couple Sage Francis albums. But if this is what all the white kids who sort-of-kind-of know something about underground hip-hop are into, count me out. I'm no hip-hop expert, but I know what I hate.

I'm not shitting you, this band sounded like 311 to me. I'm sure the lyrics are lightyears ahead of what those beach-dwelling-even-though-they're-from-the-Midwest chart-toppers are capable of, but the delivery was painful. Dude's singing voice is grating as hell, like if 311 hired one of the hundreds of whiny emo singers I saw between 2002-2003 (for those of you who were unfortunate enough to have seen any of these dudes, think Armor For Sleep, Copeland, The Conversation, etc). Tons of Bros were swaying, lifting their High Life bottles in the air, eyes closed, reciting every last word. This is just pure shit.

I spent all day Saturday on Frenchmen St, cooped up behind a table in the Blue Nile. My girlfriend and her friend were participating in the annual NOLA Bookfair, and I was helping them sell prints, blank books, zines, etc. At about 4:30pm, right as our BBQ Tofu Poboy w/Tater Tots arrived from 13, we headed to the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen to see her friends play. It was most of the horn section of Big Ship plus a bass drum/trombone/baritone/and a percussionist. The crowd gathered at the corner as the first song started. A definite marching-band vibe was in effect, though the songs were much looser than anything John Philip Sousa would imagine, and there are certainly few other marching bands out there that cultivate the train-hopping Bywater gypspy look. The songs were great and the musicianship was A+. These are not your typical crusty punks who don't know how to play their instruments, these are mostly classically-trained people who know what they're doing. Fuck, if only half the old-timey punks in New Orleans could play like this. My only complaint is that the rhythm section was a little too rigid. I would've like to hear some more funky second-line beats thrown into the mix.

People started dancing, mainly the aformentioned old-timey punks, but this being the bookfair, there were also a few young toddlers getting down to these family-friendly tunes. This made for quite the interesting scene, especially when one dreaded crusty with missing teeth began drunkenly skanking as if at a Less Than Jake show, nearly plowing right into these poor kids.

At this point, two guys wearing Polo shirts neatly tucked into khaki shorts came up right behind me. One guy turns to the other and says, "This is the weirdest shit I've ever seen in my entire life."