Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Music Of My Youth: Rancid & Ratt


Unlike most people, it's actually more of an anomaly when I don't spend at least one night a week inside some dank venue, watching loud music and slowly chipping away at my hearing. Yet during the month of July, I've almost taken an involuntary sabbatical, choosing instead to focus on finding a full-time job and more writing.

Well, guess what, kids? I'm baaaaack. And as my nature often dictates by overindulging, I'm attending no less than four shows this week. The first two shows of the week were Ratt at Nokia Theatre and Rancid at Roseland, and while the combo may sound like an odd one, both were monumental bands of my youth. In fact, I attribute my conversion to rock/metal music to first hearing Ratt's "Round and Round" as a 9-year-old, spending the summer with my Grandma in a TV-free dacha in Upstate New York.

My love for Rancid, on the other hand, grew out of my admiration of Operation Ivy, but flourished with the gripping hooks on their 1994 watershed album, Let's Go.


Happily, both bands were fantastic. Rancid—in town with headliners Rise Against this past Sunday—ran through all their hits, including "Olympia," which features the chorus: "Hanging on the corner of 52nd and Broadway/Cars passing by, but none of them seem to be goin' my way..." For all of you non-New Yorkers, the reason this line resonates so much is because of Roseland's location—on 52nd, off Broadway. Needless to say, the audience went apeshit singing along, completing the set.

Ratt, on the other hand, were a whole other animal (terrible pun, sorry). Since I was nine when their debut album, Out of the Cellar, came out in 1984, I never got a chance to see them in their heyday—or ever, for that matter, until last night. Disappointingly, the audience was not filled with 40-year-old Jersey chicks in spandex. Rather, the show was an utter sausage fest full of middle-aged dudes in various states of fashion faux pas.

Not that any of that really mattered, because Ratt played just about every song on Out of the Cellar, with singer Stephen Pearcy announcing—almost bemused—that the record was celebrating its 25th anniversary. And though I could have lived without ever hearing "Way Cool Jr." in concert, I will definitely die happier with the experience of seeing them perform the holy trinity of "Wanted Man," "Lay It Down," and the holy grail, "Round and Round."

And being the amateur photo enthusiast that I am, I had to take some photos with my ghetto little point-and-shoot. For more pics, click here.

Also, for those of you wondering: my next two shows are Saviours/Children tonight at Union Pool and the Decibel Magazine book release party for Precious Metal, featuring Brutal Truth at the Masonic Temple. If you see me, buy me a drank.

PS: Here's a bonus video of Ratt performing "Wanted Man."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Shut Up And Listen To... Into Another

On the outset, Into Another must've seemed like some kind of a contrived boy band; they just looked so different from each other when they first hit the scene in 1990. There was drummer Drew Thomas—an unabashed snappy-dressing Mod, quiet guy guitarist Peter Moses, metal dude bassist Tony Bono and pretty boy/alpha male singer Ritchie Birkenhead. And though all the guys came in with their own unique musical pedigrees (as vets of bands like Youth of Today, Underdog, Whiplash and Bold), Into Another's sound was completely original and singular.

Called "post-hardcore" by most—a term that's been replaced with the dreaded "emo" monikor since the mid-'90s—Into Another's music was often experimental, jarring and unexpectedly delicate. And though they've been broken up since the late '90s, reunions have been widely considered implausible after Bono's death in 2002.

Luckily, we have Into Another's three albums (if you're not counting the weird one they only put out in Germany) and a multitude of EPs to carry on their legacy. So today, in honor of Music Monday on Twitter, shut up and listen to them, preferably their eponymous 1991 debut.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Birthday, Voltron

Buy Me
Everyone that knows me is well aware of my Voltron fetish, so one of my biggest laments about not being at San Diego Comic-Con right now is that I can't get my grubby little hands on this black beauty, the gold-trimmed Designer vinyl Voltron.

And though the iconic robot's Hollywood movie prospects are iffy at best, Voltron remains a pop-culture cult classic (the lion incarnation, of course) who's celebrating his 25th anniversary this year.

How can one get in on the fun? By hooking me up with my Precious.

PS: I'm moonlighting on Heidi MacDonald's Beat blog this week. Check me out!

Monday, July 20, 2009

SDCC Dreaming: The Cannibal Corpse Edition

I'm not going to lie, I have San Diego Comic Con on the brain. This is the second consecutive year that I will not be attending (after a pretty hot streak of going for the past five or six years), so I'm definitely yearning for some nerd magic in my life.

One of my favorite things to do at SDCC—besides starting trouble, baiting Glenn Danzig and seeing old industry friends—is perusing rows and rows of comics, toys, T-shirts and assorted other merch, thinking: "Who thought this would be a good idea?"

With that in mind, I present to you: the Cannibal Corpse comic book. I've never really liked CC, but I'm sure at least a handful of their black-clad fans have closed their eyes and tried to imagine what the visceral horror of Corpse lyrics would look like. Well, you can put that imagination away, kids. Available just in time for SDCC, Cannibal Corpse: Eviseration Plague illustrates every song from their latest album of the same name by acclaimed artist Vince Locke. At 96 pages, this graphic novel is a hefty testament to the artist's love of this death metal muses. And talk about exclusive—the comic is only available through Hot Topic during this summer's Rockstar Mayhem fest.

For a preview, click here. And for more coverage of the San Diego Comic Con, check out my forthcoming reports on The Beat.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Clutch Still Unstoppable

I've said it before: Clutch are like a lumberjack-rock jam band. Always keeping the machine going, the band is perpetually on tour, only making brief pit stops to create more records.

Well, it's that time of year. The MD-based act released, Strange Cousins From The West, their 27th (kidding, it's actually closer to their ninth full-length) record yesterday, and accordingly, a new video. Here is the video premiere for "5000 Unstoppable Watts." Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free USA Screenings - Food, Inc.

A few weeks back, Angel and I checked out Food, Inc., a documentary about America's food production, monetized agrarianism and our safety. Stunning, to say the least, the film explores how corporations dictate policy to US farmers—and turns them into feudal serfs along the way. More importantly, Food, Inc. urges us to connect the dots and demand to know where—and how—the food on our table was raised, harvested and processed; and whether it truly delivers the nutritional sustenance it promises.

In short, Food, Inc. is an important documentary to see.

Oddly enough, the burrito chain restaurant Chipotle (which is supposedly owned by McDonald's, largely a villain in the film) thinks so, too. In a rare tie-in that surprised me completely, the brand is sponsoring FREE screenings of Food, Inc. all across America this week. Though the majority of screenings will be held on Thursday, July 16th at 7:30 pm, some cities are variables and are holding viewings as early as this evening. Make sure you get in on it... the change in diet will surely come after.

Screening Cities/Dates:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Megadeth: Still Around

It's crazy that Megadeth has been around so long, yet their raw 1985 debut, Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!, can still be considered au courant amidst all the neo-thrashers out there (Black Tide and Hatchet, I'm looking at you!).

Crazier still is the fact that Dave Mustaine & co. (it's easier to say "& co." when you haven't paid attention to the lineup since the dawn of the millennium) are still putting out new music—and it's not half bad.

"Head Crusher," the lead single from their 13th studio album, Endgame, is short and sweet thrash mongering, chock-full of Mustaine's signature guitar style and raspy vocals. More wrestling entrance theme than symphonic masterpiece, it's still stripped down enough for even purist Megadeth fans to appreciate. Check it out for yourself here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Malevolent Creation Guitarist Liar, Possible Crackhead

Earlier this week, a story started making the rounds on the Internet about how Malevolent Creation guitarist Phil Fasciana supposedly intervened during a convenient store robbery and saved the day by shooting the would-be assailant in the face with his own gun. All of this information, plus way more details, was sent via email to, which chose to run the story.

Here's the first problem: none of it ever happened. The second? No one at Blabbermouth bothered verifying the events.

Even if the folks at Blabbermouth were tight enough with this Malevolent dude (btw: I've never listened to the band, but can tell they're death metal awfulness) to take the story at face value, there are definitely enough red flags in it to realize something was amiss. My biggest clue: that the "80-lb. crackhead" actually had two weapons. If you were a crackhead, which would you prefer: two guns or more crack? I know I'd go for the latter.

A British outlet called Rock Radio finally called Ft. Lauderdale police (of course it happened in Florida, where else?) who confirmed that none of this ever took place. They also stated that the last time local police encountered Fasciana, it was over a domestic dispute at his home in April.

Why did he lie? Was he trying to garner attention for MC's forthcoming tour? Was Fasciana trying to impose a new uber-brutal image straight out of the gangsta rappers' manifesto? Who know? And ultimately, who the fuck cares? He's in Malevolent Creation.

The bottom line is, this entire situation illustrates the difference between "blogging" and "journalism." Amen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Blackened Is The End

I'm not going to front and pretend that I've ever listened to Repulsion (unless you count that odd little moment in time when it was Type O Negative's original moniker), but I definitely came of age during the Brutal Truth era.

Still, when I got a press release about the Blackened Music Series performance at Brooklyn's Masonic Temple at the end of July, I got pretty excited. In addition to seeing BT headline a big venue, openers Pig Destroyer will be making a triumphant return to NYC. And Repulsion fans have even more reason to rejoice: apparently, not only is this their first NYC show EVER, but they're also playing their seminal album, Horrified, in its entirety (actually, their only album).

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Was That A Bad Date?

Seriously, someone help me figure this out. Since I tend to have an aversion to dating, sometimes I can't even tell anymore. Here are the facts: dude and I met online and spent roughly two-three weeks playing email and phone tag until we finally settled on a date.

We met at a bar in the East Village. Since I got there a little late, he was already on his first drink, but soon enough I got my whiskey consumption started. We talked, we chatted, we compared notes about our unique childhoods. He confessed that he wasn't all that tech savvy (which is why I'm almost positive he isn't reading this right now). And we drank. A bunch. But while I stuck to my "healthy" drink of double shots of Jack Daniels with a club soda chaser, dude mixed vodka, bourbon and lord knows what else. Advantage: me.

After about four rounds of liquor, we decided to change locations to another bar—one that I am convinced must be a drug front because it was well situated, but hella empty for a Friday night. This time, instead of sitting on stools, we sat at a booth across from one another. More small talk ensued, and soon enough, he held both my hands while reaching in for the first kiss. Fuck it, I went for it and we made out. He wasn't a bad kisser, but he was definitely an OVER-kisser. What is over-kissing? Let's just say it's comparable to the kind of junior high basement party makeout session that left you with lockjaw.

How much of an over-kisser was this guy? After a while, he wasn't even sitting on his side of the booth. He was bold enough to squeeze in next to me at the table to continue the kiss fest. Now I'm all for a good makeout session, why else would I keep indulging him? But the bar was nearly empty, with only one other group sitting around. I was seriously ready for them to shout, "Get a Room!" at any moment and it made me a little self conscious.

After an hour or so (time, like our conversations that evening, remain a little blurry), he walked me towards home along First Avenue, but insisted on pushing me up against several buildings so we could kiss some more. Jeez, yo. I know I'm cute, but let a girl up for some air. At 14th Street, we parted. I can't remember the small talk we had, or if we agreed to see each other again. But I'm not exactly sitting by my phone waiting for a text message.

Still, one of the thoughts that haunted me all weekend: Was that a bad date? Was all that booze a Dating Don't? Since I can't tell, I want opinions. Just remember to keep it classy.