Category Archives: Experimental

Album Review: Xerxes – Collision Blonde

Xerxes - Collision BlondeI was waiting for an album to drop this year that would completely steal my undivided attention.  Xerxes has just done that to me.

If any of you know me, chances are you know my love for bands like the Refused, Murder City Devils, Gallows, Thursday and At The Drive-In.  The vocal styles of all those acts is one of the main reasons I have such an appreciation for them.

Xerxes’s new album Collision Blonde seemingly took queues from all those acts and more throwing them together into one killer release.

I love it.  I adore it.  Thank you Xerxes and thank you No Sleep Records for throwing their album on your label.

This young post-punk act from Louisville, KY mixes in so many different musical styles in their jams, I almost hate to classify them into one genre.  With elements of punk,  post-hardcore, goth rock and more, this avant-garde act blew me away the moment I heard their sophomore release Collision Blonde.  

This album overflows with plenty of mental anguish guaranteeing to satisfy any emotional train wreck out there.  Pain, love, and drugs seemingly fueled this release and I’m pretty sure anyone who hasn’t always been in a positive path through life will totally get into Collision Blonde.

Once “I Was Wrong” started I knew this was going to be one of those albums I listened to all the way through with no interruptions.  Calvin Philley just destroys his voice throughout with plenty of distortion that would make Trent Reznor proud.

“Criminal Animal” appealed to me with a garage rock start quickly morphing to something a little more hardcore.  I got a huge kick out of Philley switching to almost a furious spoken word only to start singing again.  “Knife”, toned things down for a moment and clearly was about some object being stuck into one’s back.

“A Toast” had this Cure-like melody and bass line hiding behind intermittent hard riffs and screaming vocals making for a great listen.  The transitions from the singing to the spoken word throughout this track made it even better to listen to.

“Collision Blonde” was beyond a daunting track with Philley just spilling his guts out on top of a melody that easily could be mistaken with The Jesus And Mary Chain or even Bauhaus.  Although dark and lonely, this track really was amazing in so many ways once you got past the emotion and pain.

“Nosedive” ended the album with Philley screaming “just make it stop” over and over.  It was almost like this entire album was a brutal nightmare and it needed to come to an end.

I am not sure if this album was a revelation of pain or a public cry for help.  Regardless, it is powerful lyrically and musically making  Collision Blonde easily one of my favorite releases of 2014 so far.

Perhaps I took in this album a little differently from others.  Having grown up listening to darker styles of music in the 80s and 90s like The Cure and Jesus and Mary Chain, I always wished it were heavier back then.  I loved the music but craved more vocals.  Xerxes seriously captured some of my favorite band styles and added their own harsh twist on it satisfying that younger request.  The result is just insane and I adore it.

Collision Blonde drops on Oct. 21st.  You can pre-order it now over at No Sleep Records.

Friday Night At The Gurley House

Once again, the Gurley House in Akron, OH, has proved for a great evening of music.  There is nothing quite like seeing a show in the basement of a house that just makes it that much more personal.

Tonight I got to see four bands, some of which I have heard of and some who I have been wanting to check out after hearing about them through friends.  The result was four performances by different genre bands all of which caught my attention in various ways.

My resident pal Roscoe started off the night with an electric acoustic solo performance.  He played some of his material, some of which I really think needs to be recorded.  Seriously, it was good shit and even though he hardly plays solo shows anymore, he had no problem jamming out a few tunes.

The Ohioans followed with an acoustic set.  The last time I saw them is when they opened for Jeff Rowe in the very same basement a few weeks back.  I was really impressed by their initial set and really enjoyed the acoustic session.  If you like folky rock you need to check out this up and coming local act.  Head on over to their BandCamp page and download their  self-titled album for free and see why I dig these guys so.  Check out the track  “512”, one of my favs off the album.

Michigan’s Protected Left were supposed to be the headliners of the night, but one of the bands was running late due to a previous commitment.  The threesome had no problem shifting slots and just rocked out hard to the gathering of music loving people.  This band seriously rocked.  Mixing punk, metal, and thrash (sweet sweet thrash…), the band got all technical at times when playing reminding me of shit Strung Out likes to pull yet kept a melodic pop-punk feel throughout.   I loved this band’s sound and really hope to see them push out a full length one day.  Until then, head on over to their BandCamp page and download their 3-song EP titled Songs Of The Doomed for free.  Check out “At Least I Didn’t Cut My Ear Off” and tell me it is not catchy and just bad ass to listen to.  Not only do they play good tunes, but they are also a bunch of cool peoples to hang out with.  Really stoked I had the opportunity to meet them and see them play.  Can’t wait thill them come back to Ohio again.

The last band to play the night was a local act I had heard of through friends but had never seen (or heard) before.  The band, Cherry Cola Champions, not only has a great name for their two man act, but also pretty much blew me away with their set.  Just download the Cherry Cola Champions EP for free and see what I mean (check out “Fievel Goes Midwest”).  I honestly did not think I was going to be able to get into them after their first song, but suddenly I was hooked.  It was experimental at times and very post-hardcore.  I look forward to seeing these guys again.

So that was my Friday night.  What did you do?  Never mind telling me, I’m too tired now…  Just do me a favor and check out the bands I just talked about.  They are all free downloads and worth listening to.

Atari Teenage Riot Return To Cleveland!

I may very will lose my hearing at this show and I am perfectly fine with that…

The last time I saw Atari Teenage Riot live was in 1998 when they opened up for Wu Tang Clan and Rage Against the Machine. I only caught a couple songs from them but loved it. I was a fan already but just could not get into Blossom that quickly. I also missed them when they played with Beck at the J.A.R.

This time I don’t plan on missing them. This show is going to be insane.

Monday Sept. 26th @ Peabody’s – Tickets $17 / $20 d.o.s.

Tri-C: Coheed & Cambria + Cleveland

Who:   Coheed & Cambria w/ special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter
When:  Aug 26th – 7:30pm   
Where: Nautica Pavilion (or whatever the hell it is called)

Progressive indie rockers Coheed & Cambria return to Cleveland this week with special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter.  I really didn’t think I was going to make it to this show but a pair of tickets landed in my lap and there is no way I am going to miss seeing them.  Having been to multiple Coheed shows over the years I know they never fail to impress.  Looking forward to seeing Porcupine Tree finally as well as taking in The Dear Hunter.

Polysics @ Musica – Akron, OH – 02/12/2010 – Concert Review

Culture was shocked in Akron last night thanks to Tokyo, Japan’s Polysics making a special appearance at Musica.  The orange jumpsuit wearing foursome traveled half way around the world to perform their Devo inspired music to a packed club on what normally would have been just another regular Friday evening.  Scenesters as well as a couple punk rockers and plenty of proud geeks piled into the quaint club in downtown Akron with perfect knowledge of what would soon progress.

Polysics is best defined as a pop power punk electronica experimental new wave outfit or “technicolor pogo punk” as they dub themselves.  Think heavy synthesizers and guitar matched over insane voice altering vocals as well as a very energetic male lead vocalist Hiroyuki Hayashi (Hiro – and yes, he sounds like Hiro from the TV show Heros) who blasts out English, Japanese, and gibberish lyrics.  Formed in 1997 out of the pure love for Devo as well as The Tubes the band is an underground sensation thanks to their extremely energetic live shows and of course their orange jumpsuits and straight bar-style sunglasses.

Opening the evening was a band called Stiletto hailing from Kent, OH.  The band reminded me of Bedlight For Blue Eyes and Roses Are Red with their slight heavy rock sound.  The lead singer had a good voice and when the band had it together they sounded fine.  They sadly kept having issues starting their songs and it became apparent that they needed some more practice as it became downright annoying to some of the crowd.  Still, they did well and get props from me when the lead signer quoted Tupac but really did not match up to the headliner at all.

Armed with my trusty camera I really thought upon entering Musica that I was going to grab some photos during Polysics’ set but while inside the venue I saw this:

That really was something I did not want to see.  I respected the artist though and did not shoot anything until the very end of the show because who am I kidding…I need at least one shot.

Good thing I did not take photos as there was a dual braided memory card deleting bandit who was part of the Polysics crew.  I understand the premise of his doings but you should have seen this guy.  He stood upon a stool and the moment a flash went off he was bolting over to that non-sign reading schmo and erasing any Polysics related photo from their camera.  Seeing what this guy was all about I really did not want him touching my gear so I parked the camera to my side and just enjoyed the show.

Hands were about the entire evening.  It was a party.
Hands were about the entire evening. It was a party.

You know a crowd is excited to see a band when they cheer insanely as the band is setting up their gear on stage.  Things just got better when the band actually took the stage and just started hammering out songs.  The songs they played ranged from almost industrial heavy pieces to absolute insanity jump-all-over-the-place songs.

Still a novice to this band I just started with amazement throughout their set not having any idea what was going on other than a damn good time. The couple songs I did recognized were “Young OH! OH!”, “Fire Bison”, and just amazing “Shout Aloud!”

As entertaining as Hiro was throughout the night (especially when he screamed “you gruys awre awresoooooome!!!”) I absolutely adored the straight faced Kayo on the synthesizer and vocoder.  I could not help but envision the scene in Revenge Of The Nerds II when the nerds played the concert at Hotel Coral Essex.

According the band’s MySpace page Kayo will be parting ways with the band after the tour so I am pretty psyched I was able to the original line-up.  The whole night was a party with Polysics controlling it.  Fans danced and tossed their hands about to the music.  It was indeed a interesting and fun evening.  If I had to describe the evening I would have to say just imagine Daft Punk, Devo, and the Teen Titans humanized and in orange jumpsuits and you might have some idea what happened.  It was amazing.


Polysics – Young OH! OH!

POLYSICS | MySpace Music Videos


Pretty Good

POLYSICS | MySpace Music Videos


Polysics – Moog Is Love

POLYSICS | MySpace Music Videos

I had to throw this in too…