Saturday, December 15, 2012

Swords - Miasma (w/ Interview)

We've been huge fans of Adam Goodwin's for well over a decade, either in mach tiver, Beaumont Hamel or in SWORDS (aka [monument of] swords). He's been doing it longer than almost anyone in this country, and doing it almost better than anyone in this country. Miasma - the final output from Swords, as Adam has moved away from Newfoundland back to Ontario - sees Swords taking on two giant pieces. I know this word "epic" is oft overused when describing big sounding music, but Miasma actual feel like an epic: The LP contains only two songs, but each fills the entire sides of the record. Almost Envy-like in its quality of movement and pacing. It's heavy, it's ambitious, it's got that narrative flow, it delivers. If you need to place it alongside some canuck contemporaries, Swords would fit well alongside Tempest or Le Kraken. The world has slept on this record - but often times, swan songs are the greatest eye-openers.

Get the LP from Anteduvia now.

We're posting up this Swords LP to coincide with the release of our Zine: Kindling issue #2. Kindling came about as we felt the documentation of our scene of post-hardcore within Canada is one that is largely undocumented (though our buds at Slept on the Floor are making strides!!). This stuff is important, and the dialogue within needs to be expanded. I was pretty excited to talk to Adam, and even though the release of Kindling #2 was supposed to come out for Ghost Throats, it's out now, looks beautiful, and is filled with interviews of some of the people in Canadian hardcore we felt were worth an interview.

Below is the interview with Adam Goodwin of Swords:

I know you were living in Ottawa at the time when Shotmaker, Okara, Uranus and all that (some of the best stuff produced anywhere in the world, let alone Canada) were exploding - and that it affected you profoundly. Can you tell me about that time and it’s affect on you?

I actually never did live in Ottawa, but the guys in Shotmaker came from my hometown area and so I was introduced to them before they relocated to Ottawa.  My first show I ever went to was to see Shotmaker but the second show was the real life-changer for me:  Shotmaker, Union of Uranus and Union Young America. 

In 1995 music became more than just that to me. It was the year of my final semester of high school going into my first time living on my own, attending college in Toronto. This year marked my real discovery of DIY punk rock. Labeling it as such does seem a bit trite and it is not really the punk rock part that is the most important (I have, only now, truly begun enjoying music which people would term as punk), though it is often holding hands with the DIY ethic, but rather coming to learn how much you can do on your own or with a few friends to help you out. i was always into music but it was usually music that held the glittery sheen of a major label, even though i could say that my musical tastes were not the popular taste (I loved metal, particularly the heavy kind like Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Sepultura and Grunge (well that was popular, you know Nirvana!) but nonetheless all major label artists.

In late 1994, I attended a local show for the second time (the first being a rather boring affair about which the only thing I took away from it was that one band had a bass player/singer who had the worst breath and every time he sang, my eyes would tear-up) in Cobourg, ON. This show had a resounding impact on me. The show was three bands: Shotmaker, Union Young America and Union of Uranus. I went because I was friends with people who knew Shotmaker (being local Belleville punks who had re-located to Ottawa earlier that year) and had met one of the band a few times. I was skeptical, the show was in a church basement (very un-metal) and these bands still put out vinyl records, a format which I thought was long-dead as I had been a die-hard cassette man and had just recently begun a pretty extensive CD collection. So the idea of releasing music on a format which had been proclaimed basically dead was a bit foreign to me.

Well from the get-go this show blew my mind. Union of Uranus was first and although at the time I was not really into them, i was amazed at certain aspects of them: their drummer was unreal, almost destroying the kit in his fury, and their bass player seemed to only play two notes the entire set. They were good but not really my thing: a bit too fast and frenzied. A few months after this show, in 1995, I ended up buying their 2x7”; probably one of the greatest outputs of Canadian hardcore (or punk, crossover, whatever you want to call it: most sounds were just called DIY hardcore at that point) and one of my all-time favourite records.

The second band was Union Young America. I do not know very much about these guys except: they were from Guelph, ON and they were, at the time, my friend’s favourite band. These guys were amazing. I hadn’t really heard much like them at that point. The only real reference I had was Fugazi with whom I was passingly familiar. Most hardcore bands were very much centered on screaming and harshness, not so with UYA. This 3-piece were aggressive but the main vocalist used an urgent singing voice as opposed to the relentless vocal-chord shredding of the previous band, Union of Uranus (whose singer screamed so hard that all he could do was stand in one-spot looking like he was trying really hard either to poop himself or to hold it all in, I think in the end he was able to hold it all in). Their music was driving and melodic but every once in a while they would drop into a cool mellower part and build it up into a bitchin’ climax. Anyways this was an excellent lead-in to my soon to be favourite band.

Shotmaker was and is my favourite band.
This was my second time seeing them (the first being the previously mentioned stinky bass-breath show) but it was my first time really seeing them. Up to this point they had released a couple 7”s and a demo tape, which I had heard and liked but was not blown away by: mostly due to my ears being used to over-produced metal and grunge recordings. Yet this set changed everything for me. From the first note played, the first beat struck, and the first scream unleashed they never let up. At one point the drummer was knocking over his cymbals and grabbing at them as they were falling and never seemed to miss a beat or vocal line. Shotmaker can be looked back upon as one of the archetypes of the mid-90’s emo scene. They spawned countless inferior imitators and in my opinion rose above the myriad of bands doing a similar style around that time (though many of these bands I still find great and love but they also feel a bit dated, a quality that Shotmaker doesn’t really suffer from for me).

I wanted to ask you about aging in hardcore. I have to say, I find the fact that you’ve continued to do this to be pretty inspiring.  How have you managed to remain vital and kept your vitality for hardcore well over a decade?

The biggest thing for me is that I still love playing music and I still love finding new music.  One thing I have noticed with friends of mine is that some are just happy to keep on listening to what they know and like, feeling that “back in the day” was always better, bands back then were always better, bands today are just watered down derivatives of those bands.  I strongly disagree with this mindset.  While newer bands often do owe a debt to older bands, it is their innovations that keep me interested. 

I have definitely slowed down in the past few years musically speaking, schedules of band members, as we get older, become more hectic and therefore touring is not as easy to do anymore.  But making music is still important to me.  I have been thinking about trying to do some solo type stuff, not really singer/songwriter, but rather just doing everything myself and seeing how that turns out.

Right now is the first time I have found myself without a musical project.  Having just moved to Toronto, my last band, SWORDS, has gone on indefinite hiatus, and although I have a few ideas of new projects, nothing has materialized yet.  It is harder to find like-minded people in my age bracket now, so finding people to play with is a little more difficult.  Now, for me, it is more about making music with friends rather than just people who are into the same type of stuff.

The packaging for all your projects have always been super inspiring and staunchly DIY - you do the screens yourself. Can you comment on the personality of creating every record by hand?

The idea of DIY is probably the most important thing to me about making music, in particular the packaging side of it.  I love being involved in the design and creation of the artwork, right down to cutting the paper, screening the covers and putting it all together.  That has to be one of the most satisfying things about being in band to me, holding that final product that I had a hand in making at each step of the process.  Now I know I have been lucky being able to do all the screen printing myself as not every band has the opportunity to work at a screen printing shop where it is encouraged to use the space in the production down time but I think it is important for bands to look into using screen printing as a way to do interesting and usually low cost packaging.  Screen printing is a fun and invaluable tool for bands.  So I encourage bands to seek out how to do it.

It was awesome to hear your sister (the other half of mach tiver) on the new record. It almost felt like a mach tiver reunion. Tell me about that time and what it was like to make music with her again.
Well, it was fun but I was also nervous.  Shannon’s parts were pretty off the cuff.  We didn’t give her much time to prepare her vocal lines but after it was all said and done I was really happy with how it worked out.  Her vocals were the very last thing we recorded for the record and I think the spontaneity and time crunch of the situation helped in the process; there was no time to second guess, we just went for it.  Ian was a huge help as well, coming up with ideas on the spot for her to try harmonies and different cadences.  Overall it was really fun.  Shannon and I have been talking casually about making some music again with each other but involving some more people this time to balance out the screaming siblings.

mach tiver were a pretty big deal back in the day for us. You two were one of the few bands willing to make the trek West. What about the disconnect between the east and west in this country. Are our cities just islands, or is there a Canadian collectivity?

When mach tiver were touring I felt that there was a collectivity to the Canadian scene and we loved heading out west.  I always felt Alberta and BC were great provinces to play in, particularly in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.   We became close with a few bands from those cities that helped us with shows and in turn we would help them with shows back here in Ontario.  Going on tour out west for us just became a sort of vacation to visit friends who incidentally set up shows for us. 

I don’t know if I feel the same way now though, and I think that might be in direct correlation to me moving out St. John’s where it is very difficult to do the cross-Canada tour in a reasonable amount of time.  But I also think it stems from me not being in a band that tours.  When touring, you are part of a community, I mean I basically dealt with the same group of people for 3-4 years of touring with mach tiver in Canada. 

I do think there is definitely a disconnect between the east and the west in Canada.  But it is the nature of distance in this country.  It gets harder to book shows once you are past Montreal heading east, I found that there were very few scenes in the Atlantic Provinces that were supportive of touring bands, and I have to say I was lucky to live in one for quite a few years:  St John’s, NL.  And although the scene there has ebbed and flowed since I moved there (like any scene), there always seems to be enough people that are interested in taking up reins and helping touring bands out. 

Even though you’ve released two 12” with SWORDS over the last little while - with all that output, it comes to just three songs, expansive as they are. In a genre that generally opts for brevity, what is it about the epic, 18-minute jam that attracts you? Do you feel you able to do more outside the confines of a 2-minute burst?

Well we have released more than just those 2 LPs, but we did specifically set out to write long, expansive songs with those 2 records.  When SWORDS started we wanted to tackle writing longer more exploratory songs where we could build and expand on a few ideas within one long number.  Now I will admit that going back and listening to Oceans (our 1-sided LP) we probably could have benefitted from a bit of self-editing, but at the time we were really excited about the possibility of writing 1 really long song, which may have been a bit self-indulgent, but you know, if you aren’t writing the music for yourselves first and foremost than you shouldn’t be writing it at all.  With the new record, Miasma, we set out to create, basically again, a 1 song album but with attention to creating movements within the song, but always revisiting the foundational structure with which we had started.  I do love the hypnotic and mesmerizing aspect of a good repetitive riff coupled with an evolving melody progressively building underneath.  With that being said, we have nothing against the 2 minute burst, as 3 of us in SWORDS were also in another band, Night Men, which tried to keep our songs around the 2 minute mark:  opting for a faster more streamlined approach to song writing.
Tell me a little about the scene in St. John’s. How has the seclusion of that city affected the scene, and affected the bands specifically?

When I first moved there, there were no touring bands coming through and I found that most kids were not very exploratory with their musical tastes, but within a couple of years, and of course the prevalence of music on the internet, that all changed.  All kinds of bands were popping up playing a variety of styles of punk/hardcore.  The scene itself was very insular and incestuous, there were some kids playing in up to 5-6 bands, some of these just switching around members onto different instruments.  This was exciting as there were new bands popping up all the time but also frustrating as some bands would only last for a few months.  There have been some really amazing bands in St John’s, while I lived there, that people should check out like:  Monsterbator, Geinus, Local Tough, Taxi Driver, Werewolf (actually you won’t be able to check these guys out as they never, unfortunately, recorded anything), Skullface and Others, Juicer, Which Side?, Triceratops, Clocked In, Veneers, Map to Temenos, plus a bunch more.   The St. John’s scene is pretty supportive of its bands; it was a great place to be and to play in a band.

What kind of fire do you want to build?

One that smolders as it gasps for air then ignites in a furious roar.

Interview by Kevin Stebner

Monday, August 27, 2012

Secret Agent - s/t 7"

Returning with yet another Kevin Rips: stuff not found anywhere on the internet, stuff we gladly dig out of obscurity and rip for your knowledge and listening pleasure and to curb your hunger for it.

Secret Agent hailed from the same scene and era in Toronto that spawned the likes of labelmates Smallmouth and our major favourites Pecola. (In this case, I'm talking about Skull Geek records and the very early stuff on Teenage USA). Secret Agent weren't quite as Slint-y as Smallmouth, nor near as innovative as Pecola, instead running more in a vein of something more similar to Jawbreaker.

I've had this 7" tucked away for years. The thing about it is, I've kept pulling it out all this time. Just two great lost Canadian punk songs, plain and simple. Doesn't have to be a game-changer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Facel Vega - The Body

Usually when people compare a band to Rites of Spring, what they're generally referring to is the band's tendency for a more thoughtful approach to DC-styled hardcore: the introspection, the personal themes, the more pronounced melodies - but so often overlook the sheer dangerous and raw character that Rites had. Just watch a video of Guy running around the stage and falling ass-backwards on his head. Well, Wales' Facel Vega captures that more than any band I've heard in a long long while. I generally don't say so until the year's end, but this is the one record that has really floored me this year. (Yes, I know it's technically a 2011 release, but that doesn't change a thing). Champion this.

The Body is seriously jam-packed. Packed with jams. An embarrassment of highlights on this record: Stick the changes from "Gertrude" next to "End on End" any day, or the channeling of HR in said track, or the almost Big Country-like guitar line on "Copycat," the wide open catharsis in "Car Crash", the East Bay Ray surf on "The Body," the final bass charge in "Beyond Laws" - In a lot of ways, it's hard to really pin down what sets Facel Vega apart, and it's simply that there are no gross missteps. The vocals are on the verge of breaking at any moment, guitars cutting and soaring, bass with charging lines, drums at their most solid. They know how to ride that edge: barreling forward, but never frantically off the rails; smartly built, but raw enough that you know it's real. I don't wish to have you dismiss this as throwback with the Rites comparison, because I assure you, this is immediate. It's angry and cool and perfect.

Give this band your attention. They're one of the few newer bands who deserve it. 

I've got a few of these from our buds at Art for Blind in the ReWin distro at the moment (along with a bunch of other great stuff from them). So either grab one from me, or get a bunch of stuff from that great Irish label, Art for Blind.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Black Love - s/t tape

Whoa! I never post on here anymore. Apologies. Babies, bands, work, tours and everything else seems to get in the way. I'll try and keep up...or not....whichever.

I came across Black Love through a friend who was spending time in Montreal for a few months. I guess he caught Black Love opening for Calculator, Prawn and Veneers (hell of a line up) and figured it would be something I'd dig. He was right! I've been looking for something like this for a while. It's been so long since I've really sat down and dissected why I like a band, so bear with me. Black Love just gets me where I like it...hard hitting, fast, loud, maybe a bit snotty and of course, catchy as hell. I even love the wankey guitar solo, something I'm normally very much oppose. The vocals are gritty with just the right amount of melody thrown in at perfect times. Not sure if anyone remembers (or even heard) Black Print from Chicago, but Black Love is really carrying the torch those guys ran with.  (Black Black...someone start that band!)

I don't really know what else to say, this band plays a rad style of punk rock/post-hardcore and I'm really stoked to hear more from them. I sure hope we can get them out west soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Shahman - 7"s

First off, huge apologies on the radio silence from us here at Goona Get Sued. We've been busy beavers - what with Ghost Throats, Sled Island, mini-tours, 5 bands, labels stuff, one of us is a papa, not to mention both Andrew and I are working hard on finishing up bands' new LPs - needless to say, we've had a lot on the go. We haven't forgotten you, internet. We could never forget you.

One of the best things about Ghost Throats are the surprises. You go fully expecting one band to steal the show, when every time, you are surprized by something unexpected. This was Shahman. Two quiet brothers, unassuming, politely smiling for the early show, until they took the stage, proceeded with a 5 minute brooding intro then exploding into shuddering rage. Shahman were utterly galvanizing.

They kind of have a Mare thing going on, except there's something way more raw here, thus way more real. Polish is done away with in favour of sheer emotion. They've got that quiet loud thing down (re: pinpricks until 70 guitars pedals get stepped on, then you're blown over). Plus, add that something entirely sinister about identical twins. These 7"s are not too high on the fidelity spectrum, but don't let that deter you - these jams are big. Fuzzy, maybe - but cathartic and powerful. Shahman are it. Be sure to snag these at Concession.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ghost Throats #5: Minuet - Three Song Demo

There used to be a lot of bands that would be classified as noodley (ie. Cap N’Jazz or Algernon Cadwallader) but the popularity of that style seems to have dwindled in the last little bit. However there is one great example of a band doing that sound in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Minuet, would be the first to note the Cap'n Jazz influence but they still have their own style. While maintaining the genres trademark guitar, Minuet really differentiates themselves by writing well crafted songs with great lyrics and vocals. It feels meaningful and honest...and that's really where the charm of Minuet comes. They play with so much heart and talent that you can't help but love them. The way Troy and Garret's vocals bounce off each other suits the band so well, and the drumming and bass just keep every song grooving along Always look forward to seeing these guys. (If you're interested, we've posted singer Troy's solo project in the past. Check it!)

Currently Minuet only has a three song demo, but they're in the early stages of recording another record, so keep your eyes peeled for that. You can catch Minuet at Ghost Throats June 1st in Edmonton.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ghost Throats #4: Bandera - II 12"

I've had such a pleasure to have been able to see Bandera a number of times. I feel like they are the brother band to Stalwart Sons, being able to play with them every time we're out East. And look at this: Darryll from Tonnn, Tim from Whiskey Priest, and now Jordan from JBAC on bass. This new line-up destroys. That first tape we did was awesome, but II is a huge departure.

Bandera hail from Toronto. Some of the finest Post-hardcore in Canada at the moment. Rhythm heavy, super dynamic. I'd pin it somewhere similar to mid-era Level Plane stuff like Gospel or something like that. Brush up for when the time comes.

Bandera are playing the Friday in Edmonton, and Sunday in Calgary.
Do not miss.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ghost Throats #3: Brain Fever - s/t 12"

Brain Fever is band that would fit into the screamo but that term can be attributed to many bands so I will try to interpret the definition as it relates to the band. I want to start off by describing the vocals they have the trademark scream vocals but they are juxtaposed nicely with softer vocals. This something that makes the songs more enjoyable, you also will not have to have a lyrics sheet beside you to understand what is actually being sung. Next talking about the instrumentation employed by the band is hard I would say it is math style played in a spazz manner. Everything is very calculated with how it relates to the song but it changes frequently keeping the song flowing and the listener’s attention. I should note that they have been a band awhile and the songs do not all follow what was described above. Please have a listen to them you will like it. 

A couple things to promote for the band first of all the will be playing Ghost Throats June 1st in Edmonton at Inglewood Hall. They will also be recording a new album at the end of may with a Canadian and European tour to follow. Keep up with them on Facebook. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ghost Throats #2: Animal Faces - Analytical Dreaming

 One of the first posts on Gonnagetsued was way back in 2009 for a painfully under-appreciated Toronto band called Soft Floors. Sadly by the time I even heard Soft Floors they had long broken up. Then just over a year (maybe a year and half) ago I started hearing rumblings online and getting texts from Toronto friends about this band called Animal Faces, a band made up of former Soft Floors members. The tunes did not disappoint at all! 

Animal Faces picks up right where Soft Floors left off, playing technical, yet grooving hardcore. A really great mix of bands like Sinaloa, Kidcrash and maybe Hot Cross. Despite their first 7", Analytical Dreaming, being only 5 songs and only clocking in at around 15 minutes, the album feels bigger and fuller than that, with parts careening and weaving around each other at a furious pace. Just super well thought out jams that honestly leave you wanting more and more...and on that note, make sure you head over to their Bandcamp to listen to the new teaser track of their forthcoming one sided 12". I also have heard from numerous people that Animal Faces puts on one of the best live shows! Cannot wait for June 1st! 

Because I'm a design geek I have to talk about the packaging for all things Animal Faces. WOW! Awesome illustration, great typography, beautiful photography. I'm always so jealous when I see anything these guys are putting out, whether it's albums or merch. It's all so beautiful! Excited to snag copies of their 7" and 12" when they come through town for Ghost Throats.

Animal Faces plays on June 1st in Edmonton and June 3rd in Calgary.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Ghost Throats 2012 #1: Tel Fyr - S/T Cassette

From now until Ghost Throats 2012 we'll be posting on a few of the bands playing this years festival. Best way to learn the words and sing along when the time comes. Remember, advance tickets can be purchased here, on at Strange City in Edmonton and Sloth in Calgary.

I've been watching Calgary's Tel Fyr grow. Dudes, Tel Fyr are getting GOOD. Super fiery sets that start from nothing and build into tense outbursts into an exhaustive purge. Pieces of meandering post-rock rushing into churning hardcore. There's even some good ol' emo spoken-word in there for good measure. Some of it is like modern-day Envy full-bore, while other times it's single guitars and haunting screams from the ether. This tape itself is like that too, starts of promising and builds into impressive maturity, where it then quietly bids you adieu. Brainchild Will Bjrondahl (also in Cold Craving) cooked this thing up, and it's best you get in on it.

Catch them on Sunday, June 3rd in Calgary @ Undermountain
(from Bandcamp)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Life At These Speeds - To Your Health

 AB: This should have been upped about 3 weeks ago but life got in the way. Sorry!
KS: Firstly, sorry for the huge gaps between my posts. What with whirlwind GreyScreen tour, releasing tapes, playing in 4 bands (17 sets in 5 weeks!), aging another year, recording the new Stalwart Sons' LP, I've been a busy guy.Life gets in the way of the internet. Good for me, but bad for you who need more jams. Fret not, chums, I'm getting back at it. 

Collective memory is a fickle thing. It's curious to go through records and see just what remains spoken of fondly, and which are somehow completely forgotten. When I was a lad, Level Plane Records was king of the post-hardcore world. Literally dozens of my favourite records in my collection are out on Level Plane, (they put out Norts, for goodness' sake!) so for the most part anything on Level Plane is worth at least a cursory listen. I'd have to say that this Life at These Speeds LP is one of the best. 

Life at These Speeds have another LP prior to this, one that is much more hard hitting, and a few other splits - which are definitely all worth hearing - but To Your Health is without a doubt the most mature. I'd say if your looking for something a little more hardcore, go earlier. But this final LP does away with much of that, and instead opts for a more subtle approach. Though, don't get me wrong, this record rocks. I talk a lot about my love "breath" in hardcore, the way bands will slow things down, trading in speed and fury for emotional catharsis, and on this release LATS have it in spades. "Heavy Hand" in particular quietly meaners for most of the track before before exploding into emo boombast. Think a more-alterna-400 Years or something like that. Solid.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Navies - An Estate

AB: New post from Mr. Saskatoon himself, Mr. Soulz.

My teenage years were largely built on the foundation of Lovitt Records, best known for releasing music by emo and hardcore heavyweights like Four Hundred Years, Bats and Mice, Frodus, Sleepytime Trio, Milemarker, etc. Lots of music to have feelings to, y'know?

Thank goodness I followed Lovitt's discography in a near-religious way, otherwise I would not have stumbled upon a mysterious little band called Navies, who none of my peers seem to remember. This band broke the label's roster mold at the time in several ways, though with driving bass lines a la Shotmaker and screechy schizophrenic guitars, Navies certainly lived up to the reputation Lovitt had for releasing interesting post-hardcore. With song lengths slightly beyond what is normal for the genre, the band certainly appeared to take great pains in composing and arranging these jams and weren't afraid of creating linear journeys out of bangin' riffs. Overall, the balance and interplay between psychotic rhythmic freakouts and brief melodic lulls make them sound like Fugazi on acid, or if Black Eyes weren't so inspired by disco and trash-can tribal music.

Monday, April 2, 2012

NicsPicks: Kodan Armada/Pretty Faces Split

AB: New post from our best bud, Nicholas. Calling it NicsPicks. Not sure he'll love that.

Kodan Armada was one of those bands that sat in my recommendations list for a good while. I am not sure where exactly I started in there discography but I was hooked in an instant. The collector in me wanted every releases these guys had put a song on. The hunt was on I found a couple splits relatively easily and bought them. But there was always a released mentioned that had not surfaced on any of the fan sites or blogs. That release is this post Kodan Armada/ Pretty Faces, there very vague mentions of this split being out but I never found any solid info. I actually thought it was not a reality until a copy popped up on the ebay. The band was not fond of ebay as stated on the cover of one their split with gospel, “Fuck Ebay”.

This release package is crazy, it contains three zines a package of rap trading cards and a bunch of nic-nacks from the label. I must say it was overwhelming to unpack it. It also come with a photo attached to the back of the envelope carrying all these goodies. I am not sure if the label does this for all of the releases or just this one. I am also not sure how many where actually made but I have a feeling that only pre-order versions went out. My copy has 420/500 marked but is also pre-order 12 so I am not sure on the number. This release is truly packed to the brim though. Picture will be included in the zip.

Lastly I want to talk about the sound of Kodan Armada, I have left this till last because I suck at describing sounds. Kodan Armada are nothing if not screamo but that carries such a wide frame that I must narrow it. I feel they hit everything I am looking for in my screamo, chaotic while still having melodic parts, screaming that counters clean parts, and fast mixed with slower parts. From that last sentence they may seem like a contradiction but they are far from that, they are more like a sweet mix of everything that defines screamo. I hope you find what I found in this band and fall for their sound.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Taken - Between Two Unseens

Taken was a metalcore/hardcore band from California that were active from 1997 to 2004. Members went on to form the far less impressive Mikoto and Circa Survive. I understand if you stop reading by this point, but bear with me...this is a gem from a genre that produced a lot crummy and underwhelming records.

Listening to Between Two Unseens now, it almost feels cheesy. The guitars are a bit noodley, the rhythm section a bit chuggy at times, and the gang vocals gingerly toe the line between awesome and cornball. I'm not sure if that's a reflection on the band, or the fact that it falls within a genre that largely became a parody of itself. In spite of that, it's still an incredibly beautiful and heartfelt record. It's heavy without feeling forced, relying on passion and urgency rather than machismo and bravado and it's melodic without resorting to awful emo-pop vocal hooks. I'm unsure of how popular this record is, but I can definitely see it's influence in a lot of the emo that has recently become so popular.

I discovered this record at a time in my life when my passion for emo and hardcore was declining, and this album really helped reignite that, so I will always hold a special place in my heart for it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Plate Six - Battle Hymns For A New Republic

Plate Six were from Alabama and had a really rad sound that I'm having trouble describing. Post hardcore with the thoughtfulness and restraint of Sinaloa, the burly machismo of Ancestors/Town Ship, and maybe a bit of Enablers-esque meandering and I think you've got a pretty good description of Plate Six. I actually wasn't super sold on this band on first listen. The vocals have this gruff hard rock twang to them which was off-putting at first, but soon meld with the music so perfectly. Plate Six manage to come across aggressive without falling into the usual cliches that can really break a band with this sound.

By the way, I downloaded this album from the amazing blog Forget The Radio. The guy who runs that blog knows a ton about mid 90s emo and indie rock and I always find something I've never heard. One of my fave blogs. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Okara - Months Like Years

Doing that Shotmaker post has put me back in Ottawa mode. Pulled out everything that ever came out on Great American Steak Religion and Spectra Sonic Sound, two great labels who, at the time of the early-mid 90's, put out and documented some of the best stuff coming out of that area. And believe me, there's a lot of it. Blake, Uranus, Union Young America, One Eyed God Prophecy... there is an embarrassment of riches in this scene/era, but the one band (other than Shotmaker, of course) that, I feel, really needs a revisit for many (or perhaps an introduction to you fresh faces) is OKARA.

Formed in 1995, Okara played some super rhythmic post-hardcore. Ultra tense, sharp guitar lines, weighty vocals used as if it were part of the rhythm section. If you need some touchstones musically, Shotmaker is likely the closest thing. There's also elements of the rhythmic-math stuff of Louisville bands like Rodan/June of 44, but definitely keeps free of the meanderings of that stuff. Okara were pretty succinct in their approach: hit hard, do something interesting, get out.

I'm probably not making it too clear, but I LOVE this record. Stand it next to Mouse Ear (Forget Me Not). Canadian gold.

I'm almost certain Spectra Sonic Sound still has copies of this LP - I am unsure if it is still in the works, but there was also talk of a discography CD which should include the INCREDIBLE demo Okara did (which deserves a GGS post all it's own) - We are big fans of Spectra Sonic Sound here at GGS; many great records are on that label. Head over there and make Sean dig gold out of boxes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Play Guitar - Shields/Don't Worry About Death 12"

I can't explain Play Guitar very well...much like I can't explain most records. What I'll tell you is when I listen to this 12" I can vividly remember the smell of the library my Dad used to take me to find books and CD's. I can remember thumbing through the selection, reading the names of rock bands, choosing the most absurd or the most familiar. Bringing those albums home and locking myself in my room, like some ridiculous treasure hunter hoarding loot that is largely meaningless and worthless to anyone but himself. Pretending, naively, that I was the first person to ever hear these wonderful sounds and that distinct feeling that I needed to share it with everyone I knew for fear that it may disappear into thin air. Does Play Guitar sound like the Smashing Pumpkins, Pavement, Nirvana or Garbage albums I made home copies of? No...not at all. But the spirit of a new discovery is there, and maybe that's why I'm so fond of it. One day when I'm an old man, hopefully I'll pull this out and remember sitting with my friends on the cold floor of this old house listening to this album spin on the turntable. So if that holds any meaning to you I hope you enjoy this record as much as I do. Buy it you nerds!

Musically...think weirdo jangly indie rock with the catchiest hooks possibly. Halifax does it again! (I told you I can't explain it)

PS. We started a Facebook go like it...or whatever.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Classics: Shotmaker - Discography

First off, apologies for the space between posts. It’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve last posted (since either of us have posted), what with multiple bands, Christmas, releases and multiple other distractions that trump the internet... That said, I made sure that my first post back would be a hefty one. Second, this is the first of the new “Classics” posts. Of course as soon as we decided this, the first thing we did was begin to argue over what exactly belongs here. Needless to say, we are going to try not to use this space to raise our own favourites, things that we feel SHOULD be classics (because lord knows there are way too many of those that SHOULD be classics) but rather to focus on the very real lineage and influence these records have inspired. Just because the record is good does not necessarily make it classic. The reason we added this space was because I am aware that we have many younger readers, and it has come to my attention that there appears to be some alarming gaps in peoples’ catalogues. I realize that many of these “Classics” may not exactly be new to many and are somewhat widely available (relatively) elsewhere. We here at GonnaGetSued pride ourselves on the fact that the majority of what we post is not available or covered on other blogs, but nevertheless we feel it is important to highlight records we deem to be highly important and influential to the genre. We are not bloggers, we are historians.

Shotmaker hailed from Bellville, ON and were an integral part of the Ottawa scene in the early-through-mid-90’s. The influence Shotmaker exert over the genre can been seen far and wide: The rhythmic basslines of The Plan, the heavy bombast of Damages all can be traced right back to Shotmaker. Matt Deline’s drumming was a great influence on my own drumming back in the toethteeth/tothehilt days. (Disclosure: I had one of the very few fan-boy moments the day I met Matt Deline, one of those embarrassing “your music means a lot to me” sort of moments.) Even the idea that Canada was a place where hardcore thrived come right back to here. Even in their active days, Shotmaker stood miles above their contemporaries.

Influence aside, let’s be clear right off the bat, Shotmaker are among the most hard-hitting, most powerful, smartest, surest bands ever to exist, hardcore or otherwise. They are the cherry on the top of the sundae of a million other good bands. While I have no doubt they could have been showing off, instead they are perfectly complimentary in every way – there are no overly complicated parts, nothing that makes them stand out as remarkable in terms of musical skill – but remarkable in the sense of being a cohesive unit, a veritable Canadian 3-headeed Cerebus of hardcore. Even just playing a charging drum line (no fills, no frills) became such a revelation to me; that a great band is not made on skill and talent alone, but rather the pure emotion that can be distilled in a performance. I can think of no finer example.

This has been written about somewhere on the internet before, but even the pictures of the band bear a lot of weight. They aren’t wearing hardcore costumes, they’re just dudes. Even this idea, that the members of toughest sounding band in the world could be me, just a regular guy. Any semblance of “cool” is clearly seen as the facade that it is. (Side note on the pictures: If you want a pictorial history of classic emo from back in the day, simply look for shots taken by Sean Scallen. Go through your old emo records, if there’s a really great live photo, chances are it was taken by Sean Scallen.)

Want some advice, bands? Study Shotmaker. Listen to those bass-lines, notice the catharsis in the guitar playing, the sheer emotion yet almost infuriating restraint in the drumming, the raw desperation and power in the screams. Observe the truth in the music. If you don’t hear it, you shouldn’t be making music; otherwise shoot to attain even a semblance of it. Listen not only to what they are playing, but listen also to what they are not playing, to the traps they avoid. Go and do likewise.

If you need any more confirmation about the influence of Shotmaker, stay tuned for our interview with Swords’ Adam Goodwin in Issue #2 of Kindling, coming soon!