This morning during my morning ritual of reading random blogs and just catching on on current events I found myself checking out +44‘s lead/bassist Mark Hoppus’ blog site. The former Blink 182 member had updated it for the first time in months. He explained where he has been, what he has been doing, and most of all reconnecting with friends from the past, more specifically Blink 182:
in the midst of everything else that has happened lately, tom, travis, and i have all spoken together. first through a number of phone calls, and then a couple of weeks ago we all hung out for a few hours. they’ve all been great, very positive conversations. we’re just reconnecting as friends after four years of not talking. it’s a good thing. obviously the first question for a lot of people will be “does this mean a blink-182 reunion?” the answer is none of us know. we haven’t talked about it at all. right now it’s just good for the three of us to see one another, reconnect, and let the past be the past. the events of the past two months supersede everything that happened before. life is too short.
Two months ago Travis Barker was involved in a terrible plane crash that left four dead. I posted a blog about it the day after it happened as I as a fan felt terrible about what happened. He luckily survived along with pal DJ-AM but it was still a horrific event and a real eye-opener for many. Seeing Mark Hoppus’ blog just proved more how the crash started to make people think about life and values of friendship.
It’s great to hear that the three members of the once power pop punk rock act are speaking. Blink 182’s break up was just dumb in my opinion. The guys had a good thing going and tossed it to the side for the sake of what seemed personal stardom. Each side had their story but once Blink 182 broke up it was clear that the three were not what they used to be. I would love to see Blink 182 reunite not for the music aspect but just to see the three together again. The band was a group of close friends and I myself liked them more because of that.
Whether they actually start up Blink 182 is still to be determined but at least they are hanging out again as friends.
Recently, rather a couple months back, I came across Kill Audio. Kill Audio is a comic/vinyl action figure created by Coheed & Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez and artist Sheldon Vella. The comic is more of a project between the two with the comics being featured on the Kill Audio Myspace page, as well as featuring in Popgun from Image Comics. An actual hard copy should be available in 2009. Accompanying the comics are limited edition Kill Audio vinyl action figures, basicly a mini Claudio Sanchez who is the focus of the comics. The comic is just about as interesting as everything else that has been thought up by Claudio Sanchez.
So far the vinyl figures are available to fans through Comic Cons and other special events such as random signings at pop culture toy stores. A limited edition version gunmetal gray Kill Audio figure will be sold at the Neverender shows that Coheed & Cambria is playing in select cities. The Neverender show is the show of all Coheed & Cambria shows with the band playing through all four of their albums in four nights… What I would give to be a part of that.
For more info about Kill Audio, check out the following links:
Japanther, an amusing, Brooklyn, experimental, trash punk rock act has recently released Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt on Wantage Records. This twosome do-it-yourself band has been going strong for over seven years thanks to their inimitable style and rareness. If you are artsy or into performing arts, chances are you may have already heard of this duo. Far from being in the spotlight, they hold their own having played shows in famous NYC museums and venues but have caught a taste of mainstream recently opening for Against Me!
I heard their band name before I ever actually heard their music and I must say after checking out Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt I have to say this is a weird yet interesting band reminding me of Negativeland meets the Dead Milkmen. It’s good though in the sense that the duo, art school heroes, do things all by themselves with limited assistance.
Opening tracks “Um, Like Your Smile Is Totally Ruining Me” sounding like a high school basement project and the unusual “Bloated Corpse” made it clear that these guys are in their own little world. Their sound is not what I thought at all but I found myself enjoying it.
“Bumpin’ Rap Tapes” was a cute friendless love track with lyrics that reminded me of something I might have written back in the days of high school hell. The cover of New Bad Things “The Dirge” entertained with under processed rock, but just wasn’t enough for me.
I was impressed to see that legendary Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud was not only the executive producer of their album but also contributed some of his poems for use in “Africa Seems So Far Away” and “I Thee Indigene”. Both tracks were spoken words of sorts with strange beats accompanying Penny Rimbaud reciting his works. Perhaps boring to some but when you are a fan of William S. Burroughs or spoken word in general, like I am, you tend to like stuff like this.
MC Spank Rock from Baltimore added his style to “Radical Businessman” an indie sounding track inspired from actual events of MC Spank Rock getting arrested. “Before The Sun Goes Down” closed out the CD with a track I favored over the rest. The song was a little more punked out over the previous.
The CD may not seem too exciting at first listen but then again this band is more of a DIY performing arts band and probably could care less what anyone thinks. They are known to take their music to the next level with interesting live shows that have featured synchronized swimmers at one show and puppets fighting at another. Not knowing this in advance may really stray you away from their material but once you see a clip of a live performance you can start to understand what the hell is going on…maybe.
The following videos are from previous releases. After viewing them I really see that Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt really strays in a different direction and I am thinking it was a result of Penny Rimbaud working with the duo. From what I have seen I think it would be best if I checked out Japanther’s catalog.
Against Me!‘s Tom Gabel has been doing a little sumptin sumptin on the side. The front man of the ever popular Against Me! is doing things his own way this time. He will be releasing a solo album on Oct 28th, 2008 called Heart Burns.
Leading up to the release Tom Gabel has been releasing music videos via MySpace of songs that will be appearing on his project. I hadn’t had a chance to check them out until now…and now you can too:
From what I am gathering the EP to be released will actually be live performances. This is really a highly anticipated release for me. This comes from the guy who used to HATE Against Me! too.
When I first got into Against Me! there was already a huge following and a couple of albums had been released. I listened to a few tracks and tried real had to like them but I couldn’t. It was mostly from fans telling me how awesome they were and how incredible they sounded before my ears even got a taste. Scene kids jamming them down my throat was not helping the situation when I worked at a record store.
I still gave them a couple more chances and even saw them play with Smoke Or Fire. Soon after hearing them a few more times I started hearing the more folk driven tracks and I suddenly liked them. When I caught them live my opinion changed entirely. They were so fun, full of smiles, and played their hearts out. Sing-a-longs galore. Suddenly I liked what I once hated…
I remember when New Wave came out earlier this year. Die hard fans soon hated the band and called them sellouts. They were upset the band went mainstream. I became a bigger fan myself after hearing that album, it is insane. That’s music industry for ya though… You have to pay the bills some how and if selling out means helping ensure a financially sane future then I say go for it…
Oct. 28th is right around the corner and if you like Against Me! you should support Tom Gabel and pick up his solo release.
Usually when there are two names of objects that can cause harm in a band’s name you might think the band should be heavy and brutal. This is not the case for Ninja Gun, a more southern country/folk/rock act from Valdosta, Georgia. In fact, previous to listening to Restless Rubes, I prepared myself for something loud and furious since the band name is a little tough sounding. To be quite honest, I was not in the mood to hear that type of music but I threw the CD in anyways just to give it a chance. I am glad I did.
Unexpectedly, I was treated to an amazing album with perfect blends of rock and folk satisfying my ears from start to finish. I am being honest when I say that this is one of the best underground CDs I have heard all year. It’s different, addicting, and certainly has replay value. Think of the distinctiveness of Black Keys (plus more musicians) or perhaps the Avett Brothers (minus the banjo) and you have a slight idea of the sound this band has. At times the rock is deep and other times there is a slow wandering country feel but in good ratio and not to the point where you forget who you are listening to.
Title track “Restless Rubes” has a southern hometown gentleman feel to it. This song was just the introduction of the CD and I found myself an instant fan of the band. Everything about this song seemed to fit in place from the singing to the Oasis like guitar riff in the middle of the song. It was just such a welcoming way to start.
Things picked up on the rockier “Eight Miles Out”, with a chorus and straight up guitar rock playing that was quickly jammed in my mind. “Red State Blues” followed and easily was the best sounding track on the CD as it pulled from 90’s rock but kept a distinctive edge. Lead singer J. Coody really displayed his singing style on this track and the rest of the band provided for a striking song.
Taking a different approach was “Front Yard Screamers”, a track dedicated to the band growing up in the south. This more country jam just made you want to sit on a porch and drink some ice cold, sweet tea. Another quality track was “Life Is Loud” a more rock track that escalated from folksy to rock. This song was best listened to with headphones and has the ability to make you gently shake your head in approval as you listen.
“Asking Price” had some nice harp playing going on with the nice harmonizing singing ensuring a moment of chill. “Nostradumbass” on the other hand was questionable at first and then just blasted into a full out rock song. The guitar playing really reminded me of the Raconteurs at times and it really stood out over other tracks
“Permanent Press” was another track that got lodged into my head. After listening to it a couple of times over I really appreciated the country style singing mixed with a hint of 90’s alt rock, even more proof of how original this band is. The CD closes out with “Breaking Light Of Day” which I feel is the perfect song to end such a great CD. The soft playing and singing serenades you a sweet farewell.
Seeing how engrossed I was with Ninja Gun, I was shocked to come across an old review of their earlier material from a past writer on Blogcritics.Org who entirely bashed them. I respect one’s opinion, but if you read the review there is nothing encouraging about the band at all from the pro –Tennessee writer’s standpoint and he really stomped on the community the band represents.
However, if you look at the comments below that outwardly bash of a review you will see a certain retaliation response over two years later from when it originally posted from the lead singer of Ninja Gun, J.Coody. I really got a kick out of the read and could sense his frustration with the review. This J. Coody who may be a part of Ninja Gun (you never know these days who is real and who is not) posted a lash back to the reviewer.
“If you came to our show looking for a bunch of illiterate punks in cowboy boots trying to pimp out some form of fashion, then I’m sure you were both confused and let down.”
Mind you that was just one line from a very long response to a bad review that the lead singer of Ninja Gun just happened to come across one day. At this time it is unclear what a young Ninja Gun had to offer back in the day and quite frankly I really want to know. I will be searching for their back catalog even more so now. I am interested if their sound has changed since 2005 or if the person who reviewed their early material years ago was just looking to deceive readers from honest good listening music.
All I know is this, Ninja Gun’s Restless Rubes is amazing. For an underground act this production of the CD is next to perfect. It’s not so often a CD like this captures me so. Suburban Home Records has a gem of an artist on their hands and with some luck you can too.
Video of the band rocking out at Suburban Home Records 13th Anniversary weekend this past September: