Monday, March 28, 2011

Ghost Throats #1: Damages - Unrequited 7"

AB: For the next few weeks we're going to focus on the bands playing Ghost Throats DIY Festival in May. For those who don't live in Edmonton, or haven't heard of it, Ghost Throats is a 3 day music festival focusing on post-hardcore, emo, and DIY Culture, and something that myself and Kevin have been heavily involved in organizing. Check out the site for more information. It's difficult to write about bands that you know and love. There is definitely a great deal of bias that comes with the territory, so rather than fighting it, I'll fully embrace the nepotism.

PS. Full disclosure time. I did the artwork for this album, and their split record is actually with my band, Book of Caverns. Shameless, I know.

Damages is first up in our series of Ghost Throats posts. I feel incredibly lucky to know about this band while they're actively playing shows and releasing records. To me, this is the kind of hardcore that kids will talk about for a long time and in 25 years will pick up their records and will say "I wish I could have seen them live". Incredibly passionate and intense with just a bit of an emo slant. This band would've been perfectly suited on Dischord or Ebullition roster in the early 90s. The thing about Damages is they don't just play a song, rather they beat it out of their instruments. Every note is played with this incredible sense of urgency and a 3 minute Damages song can feel absolutely exhausting in the best way possible. One of the best bands in Western Canada right now.

Buy this record. Buy their other record. Buy their split record. Buy every future release they put out! You'll be glad you have them in your collection when you're old man reminiscing about the good ol' days of punk rock.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hawkes - s/t EP

"Things will come, and things will go"

Montreal's Hawkes only EP is a doozy. 4 short songs, but it seems like there's a lot contained within them - but I don't mean it's crammed full of ideas, rather that it feels as though there's a lot of history and weight in these tracks. Nothing is overly complicated, nor does it need to be. The vocals are gruff and heartfelt, the guitar melodies tight and warm, the rhythm sitting right where it needs to be. Hawkes are a hard band to describe - sort of reminiscent of Shotmaker, but if they weren't overly dark and liked to groove.

Every track on this EP is a jammer - "We Know We are Lost" moves like a Four Hundred Years creeper, "Ghost of Our Past" comes across with an almost dancey message of affirmation - but truly "Fleeting Memories" should be an emo classic held along-side "Cuts Like Drugs" or something - the repeated chant of "things will come, things will go" makes me want to shake off every pretension and really embrace the unabashed. And has.

One of the dudes used to help run Where's that Deerhead? and is now in Catlin Elm whom are definitely worth getting into as well. I think this Hawkes EP is still available here. Cross-Canada solidarity.

Alessa - My Brother Was Eaten by Wolves on the Conneticut Turnpike

AB: New post from best bud and prairie brother, Aaron Scholz. Always great to hear what he's jamming on and I hope everyone enjoys his posts as much as I do.

In 2007, I used to sit in my underwear late at night and surf web forums in search of cool bands who I thought I could potentially convince to tour through Saskatoon and play with my wimpy screamo band. I ended up meeting a dude named Bob who blew my mind with his musical taste and, more importantly, his awesome band Alessa. Up the New Hampshire punx! Though they never ended up crossing the border, they put out one heck of an EP. This particular 7” was released by I'm Not Yr Dentist Records and oddly, never got the full attention it deserved.

From what I remember, Alessa was formed after three dudes met each other at a Das Oath show in 2006. While you don’t necessarily hear a Mark McCoy influence on this collection of songs, they sure do rage! Four jams full of shiver-inducing screams a la pg.99 over mid-paced dark hardcore with lyrics which emphasize pro-but-not-preachy straight edge and the importance of DIY ethics.

If you’re going to have an emotional breakdown in less than ten minutes, this is the best soundtrack you’ll find to that horribly embarrassing moment.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rockets and Blue Lights - A Smashed City With Flames and Music in the Air

Don't know too much about this band to be perfectly honest. From what I can gather Rockets and Blue Lights were a band from Albany, NY and released a couple of albums, including this 10" on Redder Records (Kind of Like Spitting, The City on Film, etc). I'm not even sure if they're still active.

I downloaded this record a long time ago, and I have to admit that it didn't particularly stand out on first listen. Over the last few weeks it has shown up a number of times on shuffle, so I decided to give it a better listen and I have to say it's definitely hooked me. I sort of kick myself for not jamming this more when I first downloaded it. Slow building emo jams with a bit of post rock slant to them. Fans of Boys Life, Mineral, and Christie Front Drive will definitely appreciate this record. Andee is a stand out jam for me with it's Promise Ring-esque vocal delivery and mathy indie rock grooves. Some of We Bleed This in the Winter even reminds me a bit of old Cursive. Listening to this record makes me feel like a teenager discovering this kind of music again.

All in all a pretty great record, and one that fans of the genre will likely embrace. I'm not saying it will sway the most stubborn of whiney-emo naysayers (looking your way KS) but it's an enjoyable listen nonetheless and one I'm happy to hopefully have in my physical collection soon. I'm not sure how active the label is still but you can order it here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

snic - Eponymous 12"

It's amazing when a band can invoke a sense of dread and terror in their audience. With a band like The End it comes from the atmosphere their music creates, or a band like Black Magic Pyramid, from the pure aggression of their live show. snic is a band that creates this feeling through uncertainty. Now full disclosure, I know the 5 gents who make up snic. I have played in bands with all of them and I consider them all good friends. I trust them individually. As a band though, it's a totally different case. I DO NOT TRUST SNIC. While attending snic shows I've been showered with cooked pasta and meal worms. I've been kicked, pushed and attacked. I've been made to believe I had enrolled myself in a Heaven's Gate-esque cult. Hell I've even been scared they drugged me. You really don't know what to expect when seeing this band. It's this uncertainty that makes this band so terrifying and so much fun to watch.

The problem with bands with crazy live shows is it's always debatable whether recorded material will hold up to the live version. How do you capture so much insanity onto tape? Well if you're snic, you just played fucked up and insane music. Seriously, this album makes me so anxious. Just when I feel like I'm comfortable with a tiny little part they're playing, they do a complete 180° turn and go in an entirely different direction. It's a schizophrenic mix of hardcore, metalcore and weirdo (dare I say) jazz. It's a mess of distortion, dissonance and banshee like screams. You truly cannot categorize this band. Again with the uncertainty.

Now technically speaking, this is a 6 song EP, but the way it was recorded, splitting it up into songs seemed like a crime, so I've uploaded as Side A and Side B. Make sure you listen to the end of Side B for a strangely beautiful and blissful moment of closure that feels like an oddly perfect ending to an absolutely devastating and vicious record. Buy this so you can tell your kids about it when you're old and grey.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CJSW's Sweet Chin Music Radio Show

Something a little different for today, and likely something that will become a weekly post on GGS. I've posted episodes of the CJSW radio-show, Post-Everything in the past when GGS contributor Kevin would guest host, including the awesome 2 hour Lungfish retrospective. Well, Post-Everything is done, but the good news is Kevin and Stan (Post-Everything host) have rebooted the show, now called Sweet Chin Music (Wrasslin' fans rejoice).

Anyone who has read any of Kevin's numerous posts on this blog, or spoken with either of these fine young men in person know that their knowledge of hardcore, post-hardcore, emo and various other genres is incredibly vast. So far I've listened to 3 episodes of the show and it's always a solid 2 hours of fantastic jams, and a bunch of stuff that I've never heard. Seriously scope this, and keep a pen and paper handy, because you're probably going to have a massive list of bands to check out by the end.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Red Hot Daggers - s/t

In the past few days I've realized that this blog has a bit further reach than I knew, and it's more than just my friends reading it. I'm totally excited about that! It's great to know that people are as excited about this music as I am. After that revelation, I realized that there is an abundance of music I haven't been posting because I figured everyone would have it already. I think I better start posting some of my friends bands, so folks outside of Edmonton can hear what this awesome town has to offer.

Red Hot Daggers were one of Edmonton's best bands that for whatever reason, not a lot of people paid attention to. Sure they were adored in the close knit hardcore community, but in my eyes, these guys should have been legends. They played everything fast and hard, but managed to maintain a great deal of passion and emotion in their songs. A great mix of hardcore, noise and emo, with elements of dance rhythms and pop hooks.

I spent 2 weeks of my life seeing this band every night and never once did I feel like they were less important than the night before. They were and still are one of my favorite local bands and I miss them a ton! I have a really hard time putting my love for this band into words, so you should just disregard everything I just typed, download this record and jam the hell out of it. You'll get it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Laureate - Demo

I have a pretty big soft spot for pop punk. It's what I grew up listening to as a teenager, and I still feel a pretty strong connection to it. One problem. The pop punk genre is over run with a great deal of complete garbage. For every great band there is probably 100 shit ones, not a good ratio. Enter Montreal's Laureate! I have only had this 3 song demo for a few days and I've already jammed it an absurd amount of times.

I think what I love about Laureate is they feel reminiscent of the golden age of Vagrant Records, when bands like Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary were releasing their best records. These were records I spent a lot of time when I was a kid, and it's the kind of stuff that just makes life feel good. To hear a band like Laureate channel this feeling gets me incredibly excited about music, and for the first time in a long time I was hitting play on song 1 the minute the last song was finished. The songs are catchy as hell and the vocals are incredibly solid. Caroline has been stuck in my head for the last two days and I find myself whistling it throughout the day, much to the annoyance of my co-workers I'm sure.

I'm really stoked to see what else Laureate does and hopefully they make their way west to Edmonton one day. (Bass player, Erin Power, is an Edmonton ex-pat! Cool) Because this is a free download on the band's BandCamp page, I won't be re-posting a new download, rather linking directly to their page. Check it out!