Friday, March 30, 2007


Fifth Hour Hero, a truly awesome punk rock outfit from Montreal, just broke up. Kinda sucks cos I was just recently turned on to them and was looking forward to future albums. You can read a lengthy statement as to why they're hanging it up here, but it's basically the same ol' story: it's hard to be an underappreciated punk band; not to mention, financially draining.

Here's a review of their last album I wrote up for the greatest magazine in the world:

Fifth Hour Hero - Not Revenge...Just a Vicious Crush (No Idea Records)
I’d been hearing a lot about this band but never got around to checking them out. I was truly missing out. Not Revenge…is about as good as any punk rock album that’s come out in the past few years. Singer/guitarist Genevieve Tremblay’s guttural, yet soothing, vocals fit perfectly with the rest of the band’s melodic punk rock riffs and upbeat tempos. For fans of Small Brown Bike, Discount, and the Lawrence Arms.

Fifth Hour Hero - my sympathies
Fifth Hour Hero - everthing i won't miss
Fifth Hour Hero - cut me dead

R.I.P. Fifth Hour Hero.

Monday, March 26, 2007

SXSW pt. 2 (of 2)

I woke up with a blanket of bulldogs covering my legs. The sad part about this: they were probably cleaner than the couch and sleeping bag I was sleeping on.

Regardless, I was ready to party and the first stop on Friday's agenda was Pok-e-jo's BBQ where the totally awesome Oakley Hall were set to rock the socks off of carnivorous indie rockers. This was truly a perfect start for the day. I was hungover as all get-out and the breezy, sunny weather, complimented by O-Hall's lazy psychedelic folk rock was the perfect setting to nurse a hangover. The free Shiner Bock helped some too. They ran through a pretty comprehensive set; even showcased some new tunes as well. Can't wait to hear their new album that Merge is putting out in the fall. Only complaint: the sound guy had no idea how to deal with their fiddle. Felt bad for the poor girl.

We stuck around for a little bit of +/-. They didn't necessarily suck, just wasn't really feeling it. I'd heard some of their tunes prior and I remember liking them more on album than what we saw of them live. Electronic indie rock with real soft vocals, if you're interested.

We left about half way through their set and set sail for the Longbranch Inn, who was hosting the ever-so-popular Vice Magazine party. We rocked the indoor section of the party and the bands we caught were far from memorable. We loaded up on free issues of their newest mag, but aside from that, pretty lame. The real party was outside where Turbonegro was playing. I was indifferent on checking them out. I didn't think that I gave a shit about them, really. As it turns out, they really rock live. It was a friggin' party. Their fans were going ape-shit and everyone else was having a good time as well. We saw "the Pete" from Bouncing Souls there too, which was kinda fun.

After Turbonegro it was break-time. We posted up at the Sidebar for a few bloody beers. The next show was truly the wild card of the weekend. The lineup: Fucked Up, Jay Reatard, and White Savage. We were primarily going for White Savage cos our buddy from Chin Up Chin Up was playing drums for them. He said it was their first show ever and the band consisted of a group of friends that gig around in different Chicago bands ( Tyrades, Chin Up Chin Up, and the Ponys - who are totally boss).

White Savage was fucking awesome. As loud and volitale as Big Black, and as fast and piercing as the Hot Snakes. They rocked so frickin' hard they blew the generator that was powering the whole show. Pretty impressive. After some old dudes fixed the generator they came back out and rocked a few more tunes. Easily one of my favorite sets of the weekend. Good luck on finding any more info on them. I couldn't find shit.

I cut out after White Savage. Dudes Mag allies, No Idea Records, teamed up with Volcom to throw a wicked party. I'd been looking forward to meeting up with the infamous Tony Weinbender from No Idea for a while and, just as suspected, he is truly a dude among dudes. I arrived just as Valient Thorr was about to take the stage. Holy shit, did these dudes kill! On top of a balls-to-the-wall set that was somewhere between Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, Clutch, and old Metallica, Wayne friggin' Kramer of MC5 came out and jammed with the band on their final song of the set. Truly awesome!

Up next was Chuck Ragan, former co-frontman of Hot Water Music. He's been doing the solo thing since the H.W.M. split and it was pretty decent. Definitely sounds like a stripped down acoustic H.W.M.; throw in some fiddle and, wha-la, you have Chuck Ragan.

I was nice and boozed up at this point (no thanks to the multiple whiskey shots provided by Mr. Tony W - see pic). I met a totally boss dude named Aaron from Gainesville, FL's Billy Reese Peters. I knew he was a solid dude cos immediately after meeting him, he agreed with me that there was no reason to be wearing a shirt at this show. We dropped cotton and proceeded to talk about this piece I'm going to do on their band for the next Dudes Mag release. We determined that the only way this piece can go down is if I get the mag to fly me down to FL and we conduct the interview in a hot tub. I'll keep you posted as to how that turns out.

The Draft, which is the other 3/4 of H.W.M., +1, closed up the evening. Their sound is obviously similar to their former outfit, however, a little more straightforward punk rock with more spaced-out guitar riffs complementing the rhythm guitar. They rocked a great set - oozing with energy and posi-punk rock. Perfect end to a wicked weekend.

Now, listen:

Oakley Hall - lazy susan
Oakley Hall - living in sin in the u.s.a.
Oakely Hall - eyes, lock and steel

+/- (Plus Minus) - steal the blueprints

Turbonegro - all my friends are dead

Valient Thorr - man behind the curtain" [via rock star journalist]

The Draft - new eyes open
The Draft - lo zee rose

Monday, March 19, 2007

SXSW pt. 1 (of 2)

This pic here to the left pretty much sums up my SXSW weekend in Ausin, TX. Had a pretty boss time hanging with new and old friends alike. Of course, I didn't catch every show I wanted to see (I'm looking in your direction t.g.t.b.t.q.), but I can't complain.

Thursday started off with a party at the Yard Dog Gallery, hosted by Schuba's (Chicago, IL). Rock-solid lineup featuring Midlake, Cold War Kids, Bishop Allen, and Russian Circles. Unfortunately, I didn't fully soak in Midlake. I'd heard plenty of good things about the dudes, however, the free beer and excitement of hanging w/ peeps I hadn't seen in a while took precedent. The same can be said for the first half of the Cold War Kids set. Although it wasn't particularly because of my boozing or hanging; more so because of the fact that these dudes are BLOWING UP and it was a little more difficult to fully post up on their set. From what I caught though, I was definitely impressed.

I'd been curious about Bishop Allen's live show for quite some time. I love listening to their tunes, but I wasn't quite sure how they'd pull it off live. They did not disappoint. Six piece lineup featuring xylophones, horns, and other fun instruments. Good time for sure. For the unfamiliar, I'd defintely encourage you to check out their tunes. This past year they self-released a monthly EP for 12 months straight. Amazingly, everything I heard from the EP's sounded decent. See for your self below.

Russian Circles tore it up as well. All instrumental spaced-out progressive metal. "Instrametal," if you will. Normally not my bag, but they definitely won me over. Before their set a friend introduced me to them and we realized that we all knew each other from way back in high school. As it turns out, 2/3 dudes are from StL and were old ska-punker peers from the scene we used to rock. Hilarious! So yeah, the show was great, but it was no Ska-O-Rama.

After the Schuba's party, hit a bar to relax for a while before heading to see Chin Up Chin Up. I probably would've opted out on this show, but these dudes are friends of the dudes I was running around with, so I agreed. I've been keeping track of them over the past few years and they definitely don't suck... and they're getting better. Jangly synthed up indie-pop with vocals that remind me of the dude from Archers of Loaf and Crooked Fingers. All indifference aside, had a solid time with them and they put on a fun show.

By the time we left that show we were more or less drunk. Coincidentally, this is when things got interesting. My partner in crime for the evening was all amped to go check out Matt & Kim. I'd never heard them, but I was down regardless. Good call brah! They were awesome. Super fast electro-pogo-pop; keyboard drum combo. They reminded me of a poppier version of Atom and His Package. We almost didn't even get in. Like most of the night shows, it was a showcase for some label or company and you had to have a badge to enter. We were denied access initially, however, my buddy swore we could get in because he "knew the band." I tried to convince him that this would do us no good considering they are about to go on and probably not hanging by the entrance. His response: "let's just fucking sprint past the bouncer and stage dive. Then we're in." Before I could even explain how bad of an idea that was Kim happened to notice my buddy and had one of their people get us in. Pretty hilarious really.

At this point it's about 1:15 a.m. and we're still looking for trouble. We knew Against Me! was playing at 1:30 a.m., but we also knew it was showcase for Sire Records, which meant you definitely needed a badge or a Rolex to get in the door. Doubt it! We covered our bases earlier in the evening. We had gone to the club just before midnight and somehow snuck in. While we were happy to have gained entry, we were also conscious of the fact that there was no way were going to wait there for and hour plus to see Against Me!. So we found this stooge who was working one of the doors and told him we were in "the band" and we were going to get some food before our set. Stooge was like "sounds good, I ain't going anywhere." This was music to our ears. We knew he couldn't forget our lovely faces so we'd be able to get back in. As it turned out, mission accomplished, stooge let us in.

Oh yeah, about the Against Me! show... They were awesome. This is the first time I'd actually got to see a full set of theirs. They ripped through both new and old tunes and absolutely killed it. My buddy got kicked out for stage-diving. No, I didn't bring a 18 year old with me; just a drunken punk who was ready to party. I stood in the middle of the pit with my shirt off and danced like a I was at a 1950's sock hop. I really had some people confused, but nobody punched me from what I remember.

So that's part 1 of 2 my SXSW festivities. If you've made it all the way through this post, good for you! You will now be rewarded with free tunes performed by the artists mentioned above. Whoohoo!

Cold War Kids - i don't wanna grow up [T.Waits/Ramones cover]
Cold Wark Kids - heavy boots

Bishop Allen - the same fire
Bishop Allen - butterfly nets

Russian Circles - death rides a horse

Chin Up Chin Up - this harness can't ride anything
Chin Up Chin Up - virginia don't drown

Matt & Kim - yea yeah
Matt & Kim - no more long years

Against Me! - don't lose touch
Against Me! - cliche guevara

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Off to SXSW...

Well, I'm off to Austin to roam around for a few days crash the parties w/ free booze. The beauty of not buying a badge is that it keeps my expectations low. If I walk away totally diggin' 4-5 shows, and catch a free buzz, more power to me. I'm sure I'll probably see about 50 different bands, but most of the fun will lie in people watching. There are some real freaks in Austin around this time of the year. Be it uber-hipsters or just off-the-wall chicken-heads, there are always interesting folk roaming up and down 6th Street and the surrounding area.

Expect a detailed report upon my return.

Here are some bands I'm hoping to catch, not including the previous SXSW post I already delivered:

The Broken West - down in the valley
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - oregon girl [Springfield, MO represent!]
The Black Lips - stranger
Great Northern - home
Maritime - tearing up the oxygen

Monday, March 05, 2007

Politics: Yeah, I went there.

They really don't get more rediculous than Ann Coulter. Have you heard about what she said re: John Edwards. Yeah, apparently the 2004 Vice Prez candidate is a "faggot." Clearly evidenced by the fact that he's married with children. What kills me is that you know this bitch was down with Ted Haggard and Mark Foley before their shit hit the fan.

I'll pretty much stop there before I start griping about her and the religious right. It'd be unfair to assume Coulter speaks for all conservatives, just as it's unfair to use Mike Moore as the poster boy for liberals.

The real question that has my wheels spinning is how this Democratic bid for presidency will pan out. Sure, we got Hillary and Obama dominating the headlines, but are either of them seriously electable? If I'm Gore or Edwards, I gotta think I have a good shot at getting tapped by the Dems after Hilary and Obama go at it for a while. They say that no Dem can win without support from the South. I see Edwards getting that support before any of the others mentioned above.

I'm anxious to hear everyone's thoughts on this. Please comment and let me know what ya think.


I'm waaay behind on life right now, so I'm going with a light post.

Just recuperating from a wicked-awesome weekend. We were graced with the presence of themichaelbauer and Miss Alie Ward. Tip o' the hat to both parties, as good times were had by anyone who came within our reach (see photo).

Also, Wilco has posted a new track off of their upcoming album, Sky Blue Sky. Upon first listen, I friggin' love it. Check it out for yourself:

  • Wilco - what light

  • I'll be back later with more banter (and maybe more photos).