Maybe it was the excessive beer intake last night, but I woke up this morning to the strangest dream I have had in a while. Not to bore you with details, but the dream ended with me in a convertible telling Ryan of Cincinnati/Detroit pop-punk act Mixtapes about this other dream I had within the dream that involved a James Bond like India adventure. He looked at me like I was high and then got mad at me when I asked him what it would take for him to sing me some Wooky Stax.
I took that as a calling today to write a little something something about Mixtapes as well as their alter ego known to many as Wooky Stax.
For those of you who do not know of the pop-punk act Mixtapes, you my friends are missing out.
The male and female front-kinda-sorta-duo sing about everything from thinking that Strung Out is a “mediocre version of the skate punk 90s” to not staying up all night and just kicking it at home drinking Diet Coke. The band is unique in that they are not looking for the fame and do it for fun (well at least I think they do). Most of their material has been released for free on the interwebs through various sites and they never seem to stop touring. They also have a handful of 7″ vinyls out for all you collectors out there.
They are a prolific band you need to check out. I’ve seen them live a couple times and it is a riot.
Wooky Stax is Mixtapes’ alterego rap project. I do not care what anyone says, I love it. It is far from the greatest hip hop and probably was created as a joke to the ever so hardworking rap music industry (can you sense the sarcasim?). Ryan and Maura do their best to rap over samples and honestly…it’s kind of catchy and it’s hella free.
I know I am not the only one that has been waiting what seems a lifetime for Bayonet to release something since they announced their existence. I was immediately excited when I heard earlier this year that members of bands like Senses Fail and The Banner had joined forces to create a hardcore band of sorts. Well wait no more, Bayonet just dropped a self titled EP, a first taste have you, and I am loving what I am hearing.
The New Jersey hardcore act features Senses Fail’s Buddy Nielsen behind the mic, The Banner’s Jeremy Comitas, Suburban Scum’s Paul Klein and Fit For An Autopsy’s Will Putneyalls. Having already supplied a taste of what they were all about on their MySpace page, the EP features five hardcore songs that range from a minute to three. Nielsen seems to just lose himself through out on the EP dropped on Mightier Than Sword Records.
“I really wish I was better than this” is screamed by Nielsen towards the end of “Nightmare”, a full-on brutal intro that slowly mellowed towards the end (this might have been more suitable to close the EP). The band supported a hard and tough sound backing Nielsen’s livid vocals up perfectly. “Who’s Gonna Want Me Now” followed in a minute…literally. “One, two, fuck you!” starts off the minute long mosh pit enhancer and before you know it, it’s laid to rest. “Harsh” reached way back into the hardcore styles I remember growing up with and stayed tough all the way through. “Blackbird” had a little horror-punk feel to the start only to jump kick into awesomeness. “New York Minutes” again just was looking to pick a fight. Great song full of opportunity to sing along and get rowdy.
Senses Fail seemed to be getting weaker and weaker with their last few efforts and I pretty much stopped listening to them. When I heard Buddy Nielsen belt out a harsh grouping of vocals at the beginning of this EP, I knew I was in for something good. The combination of musical forces have structured quite the beast of a band. There are no positive songs on here, only hate and self-loathing ideas mashed with hardcore goodness – Kids are going to love these guys.
If you are a die hard fan of Senses Fail and think you are going to be treated to new material by them, stay clear. This is a little harder than what you might be expecting. Additionally, if you are tired of hearing about Buddy and want nothing to do with Senses Fail, maybe you should still give Bayonet a chance. Who knows, you might dig them like I did.
These days, I’m a little too weathered to be swinging about in the pit and picking fights with the concrete. Still, I know when I hear something I like. All I can say to Bayonet is: “Good job, when is the full length coming out, and when the hell are you guys touring my way?”
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.
Punk rockers Alkaline Trio (AK3) recently dropped a mostly-acoustic, sort-of-best-of-album entitled Damnesia on their very own label Heart&Skull. The album, that was also released on Epitaph Records, contains seletions from previous releases from the band’s career as well as two brand new songs. If you recall, AK3 already took a stab at releasing some acoustic tracks as seen on last year’s deluxe version of This Addiction. This time though, the band had a reason to dig into their catalog.
Marking their 15 year anniversary, the band saw it best to celebrate their success by putting together an album for the fans. The result is a nice twist at classic songs with some of the re-recorded acoustic / semi-unplugged versions sounding better than the original cuts.
“Calling All Skeletons” started off the 15-track album, sounded well, but just was not overly impressive. “Nose Over Tail”, originally found as a b-side from the “Sundials” single, on the other hand was awesome. I loved that they re-recorded such a great track and it sounded better to me than the original thanks to Skiba’s vocals sounding so personal and heartfelt.
The pianos throughout “This Could Be Love” was a nice touch. A bit gloomier this round, the track was a tad slowed down which was fine by this listener. “Calvicle” kept things moving with a speedy acoustic jam. “Mercy Me” almost sounded rejuvenated with its rebirth into the un-plugged world.
“The American Scream” started with a duo of Skiba and piano playing. I have to admit I enjoyed this version a lot. I loved when the rest of the band kicked in and started playing / singing along. “We’ve Had Enough” continued impressing me. There was just something about this version that made me tap my foot a little harder to the ground while listening to.
One of the two new tracks, “Olde English 800” was an awesome tribute to a iconic malt beverage. The sing-a-long had me craving for a 40oz. or two by the time it was over. Comedic? Perhaps… Sincere? Absolutely. Am I going to have a hangover tomorrow? That is has not been determined yet. All in all, great love song for a top-notch beverage.
AK3 covering The Violent Femmes was not overly impressive to me, but it was nice see them choose “I Held Her In My Arms” over other overly-covered Femmes songs. It was not terrible to listen to at all, it was just not something I was really looking to listen to although I appreciated the light twang feel to it. Then again I never was the biggest Femmes fan.
“I Remember A Rooftop” was the other new track on Damnesia and was a lot more serious than the O.E. 800 song. Andriano took over singing duties this round on the acoustic guitar only track. With lyrics like “I took my lousy shot at public recognition” the lyrics clearly were a little darker, something this beloved band has never been afraid to dish out.
The very Dexter Morgan describing “Private Eye” was another nice surprise to find on this album. A great version of “Radio” closed out the album. Once again, the singing sounded just a little more personal and meaningful on this track. I really enjoyed it a lot.
A lot of times when I hear that bands are going to take songs and re-record them in an acoustic manner I am usually not overly excited about it, sans Unwritten Law’s Music In High Places. AK3 nailed it though with Damnesia. The album takes a nice detour from the punk rock path and brings you to just a nice chill (chilling?) listen many punk rock and non-punk rock fans will enjoy.
Does recording an acoustic album mean the band has slowed down (not trying to knock anyone)? Well, perhaps in some cases for some bands, but I doubt AK3 has any means to take it down a notch anytime soon. This was a nice novel idea for the fans from the band that has been kicking it for a decade and a half. Look for AK3 to be touring this summer in support of the new release as well as means to continue to celebrate their 15 years as a punk rock act.
Andriano had this to say about the tour:
“We’re looking forward to our 15th anniversary tour this summer. We’re going to really try to put together a set that encompasses everything the band has done over the past 15 years and plan to play some songs that rarely find their way in to the set list. We will also play some songs in an unplugged style similar to what we’ve recently recorded on Damnesia. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
I just learned today that Melbourne, Australia’s Wagons will be returning to the states this September! After missing my chance to see Henry Wagons and his band at SXSW, the band announced that they will be back in the US touring in support of their soon to be released album Rumble, Shake and Tumble. They are even making a stop in Cleveland on Sept. 11th at the Beachland Tavern.
I caught Henry playing a solo last year when he opened for Those Darlins at the Beachland Tavern and I became an instant fan. He told me later that night that he could not wait to bring the rest of his band back to the states and started telling me about all the American food he was digging. He was a funny and genuine guy. If you like your music a little bit of country rock a’la Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and are just looking to be rowdy and have fun, you should not miss this show.
Check out the video for “I Blew It” off of their album that should be dropping on August 16th:
I plan on not missing this show. Of course this will be taking place the day after Warrior Dash which I have decided to attempt… I think I will be fine…
What the hell am I thinking??? Stay tuned for the results on that one.