Heroic Struggles – I’m Life


I may have posted this vid in the form of a Youtube link, but it has since died or been removed. I take a holistic approach (sometimes linear) and as is often the case, have come full circle. I love this song and the whole vibe, everything about it just screams LA post-punk of the absolute finest. Back then I was in the habit of recording random videos that I’d run across and being so stoked when I got this one. It satisfied my inner self pitying new waver. It’s Heroic Struggles doing “I’m Life” (I think that’s the title of the tune, from what Peter Ivers says at the beginning) and as far as I can tell this was a short lived project that morphed into the band Outer Circle. The guy at Systems of Romance has their self titled 12″ up for your listening pleasure and the comments are worth reading to get a little intel on the band. It’s some far out stuff, unfortunately their next release is more polished and not weird enough for me.

If you’re into this kind of stuff check out this extensive homemade LA post-punk comp at Scavenged Luxury. On a side note, the vid is from New Wave Theatre, which was a cable access show that played back in the early 80’s, hosted by a very interesting guy, Peter Ivers

Winona Forever – Kolony digital download

the-best-dance-movesStarting up where I left off the other day, a guy who can boast of his dancing skills (and fashion sense).  Back in the mid 80s when I was in high school, I was like most teenagers very concerned with my image, and except for running around in a circle bashing into people, I thought dancing was for women and effeminate men who listened to likes of Depeche Mode and Duran Duran (I was secretly a Smiths fan).  Rather than being too cool, the reality was I just didn’t have the moves or the confidence to put myself on display like that.  Now of course, like many things I regret, being able to dance would be very cool.  Not just cool, fucking fun and maybe even handy for those occasional weddings…hahaha, just kidding. It must be a cool feeling for a band to have people dancing to their music, I can’t remember if they ever did to mine, or just stood there thinking WTF.

WF1I dig one man bands, the guys who play several instruments at one time, ala Kind Automatic, or in the case of the guy I’m focusing on tonight, one who records all the instruments in the studio. God(!) I admire that. It’s enough to play one instrument, but when you start mixing up strings and percussion and whatnot, damn. Having gone through the tremendous hassle, nightmare really, recording in the studio with a bunch of guys, I can appreciate simplifying it and just doing all the instruments/vocals yourself.  The mixing and production too, no one to argue with about whether the levels are right.  Anthony is one such guy who has tackled this task, the ultimate do-it-yourselfer, with Winona Forever. He hit me up like this, “I do a solo hardcore/punk project and was hoping you would be able to help me out. All instruments are done by me including vocals. I am in love with Johnny Depp so I decided to name the project after his Winona Ryder tattoo. All I have is bandcamp with free downloads and a bunch of tapes I just finished dubbing. I started this project by myself over 2 years ago because I couldn’t rely on band mates anymore. I said fuck it I’m doing it all. Influences come from Johnny Depp, Discharge, and Jay Reatard, the ultimate one man band! I play in many other projects such as Black Prism (intense stoner sludginess, ordered their 7″ myself…check out their VID), and Golden Milk. Black Prism just released a single through Easy Rider Records, and The other one is a punk project with a friend of mine who runs Chained Meat Tapes.” I was blown away and responded to him, “…I really dig what you’ve got going on. You’ve got this raw black metal thing akin to Bone Awl or Idjarn. Down and dirty dude. ..nice! I need to investigate further.” And investigate further I did, to the tune of listening to these songs a dozen or so times over the course of a couple of weeks (I know these reviews aren’t mind blowing, but I do put some thought and effort into them, I get backed up and it takes a while). These 11 tunes are raw, lo-fi ugliness at it’s very fucking finest. Anthony’s inspiration is short, simple and to the point, he’s not trying to mesmerize you with sappy intricacies, he’s hitting you in the head with the claw side of a hammer. The vocals are straight from hell, growling in a cavern.  The music can either be this grinding dirge or all out attack. His guitar must have the distortion turned up to 11, and it’s a filthy, heavy kind of distorted sound. And once again this is all from the mind and soul of one stricken man. Shit, I can’t wait to get my cassette in the mail. Here’s my favorite tune…
“Culture Vulture”


“You Claim To Worship The Breath Of An Unholy Power
And Pass The Flesh Of Newborn Life
You Still Fear The Holy Hand, But Wear The Badge Of EVil
You Fucking Culture Vulture To You Its All An Image
Keep Digging For Scraps
I Spit In The House Of Worship
Curse He Who Carry’s The Cross On His Back
I Am The Chosen Child
Spin The Record Back And Hear The Howls Of He In Power
Close The Circle Of Stone And Mount The Head Of Flesh And Bone”

I can’t believe how perfect it is when he sighs and growls while singing this tune, the vile frustration and contempt of it all. It’s all evil, but not with the kind of over the top, blatant theatrics, hair spikes and pentagrams, it’s more sinister, like the smell in a crematorium. For you old timers, this should have been the soundtrack for the 80s movie Heavy Metal, instead of shit like Sammy Hagar. He’s got a Bandcamp (embedded below) and a Soundcloud so no excuse not to give him a listen…do it!

EDIT: apparently this tape is no longer on Bandcamp and hard copies are sold the fuck out, thanx for the heads up Rich, who emailed me, “Hey man!!! Been reading your blog, awesome stuff!!! So on February 20th, 2014 you posted a review on Winona Forever’s “Kolony” tape. I went to the band camp page which only had a couple of songs for download, love the stuff!!! Problem is I want to hear the whole album. I know there was a limited amount of tapes available and their all sold out, I’ve been looking everywhere to find a place to listen to the whole album to no avail. I was wondering if there was anyway you could send me mp3’s or wav files of the album? I’ve tried contacting the artist and got no response, I’ve looked everywhere to buy a tape and of course there is no copies anywhere including used ones. If you can help me out I’d much appreciate it. If you can’t just e mail and tell me.” So anyway, hope Anthony doesn’t mind, I went ahead and ripped the cassette as one file (too lazy to go through the hassle of separating the tracks and labeling them)…

Winona Forever – Kolony

Chance The Rapper – Juice

TNkNJO2Cops are an easy target for ridicule, probably have been since the first thug was assigned the task of law enforcement, I imagine it was just mob rules, by divine right, prior to that. I’ve always been wary of them though, people with guns and the law on their side, are best kept at a distance. I’ve called them for assistance a few times in my life, once when my truck got stolen (never recovered) and another time, on myself, when I was a couple days into a really bad detox, hallucinating that there were dragons and babies in my house.  If there’s one thing I want my Son to know about cops, it’s do not resist.  It sucks to say that, and it shouldn’t be taken generally as a philosophical way of life (Know Your Rights), but every time I’ve been arrested, I did what was asked of me and the process was relatively painless.  The best practice though, is to never get caught in the first place, and if you’re going to do crime, make sure you’re smart about it…obviously, and never admit to a crime.

SESpeaking of my Son, who was just accepted to Eastern Carolina University (Go Pirates!), he just turned me onto some good tune-age.  He, like his old man, is a music lover, always has been, but go figure.  His drug of choice is rap and hip hop, which took a little while to settle with me, for various reasons, but music is music right and creativity has many shapes and sizes?   …and some of that shit really is wicked.   So far he’s opened and blown my mind with the likes Wiz Khalifa, Lil Wayne, and Riff Raff.  All very stoney guys, I should probably be worried about my boy and the refer, but I’d just be happy if he took it real easy when it came to the bottle.  This time he’s got me groovin to the delightful sounds of Chance the Rapper. He’s a youngen, just barely out of high school, a few years older than my boy, and just dropped with his first mix tape in 2012. Wikipedia has a minimalist biography on him, but he so brand new that there isn’t a lot to say, except that he’s got mind blowing talent. All his stuff is free, where it first found itself at datPiff. I’m not quite sure who is doing his beats and samples, maybe he’s doing them himself, but as a foundation for his words, the music is pitch perfect. There’s quite the variety to the mix, but one common thread is this stoney, jazz vibe, mostly laid back, with horns and piano here and there. You can almost envision yourself in this smoke filled room, lights lowered, everybody lightheartedly nodding their heads. His rap is equally stoney and really takes it to the next level, from sativa on up to indica, sticky green, juicy raps. He can do that cabaret R&B thing and/or this hybrid hip hop, in a trance thing, pulling rhymes from other dimensions. Like Jimi Hendrix on the guitar, Chance noodles back and forth with these new rhythms, sub-rhythms and tripped out melodies. Going back to my youth, his rap reminds me a bit of De La Soul or better yet Digable Planets, if you’re in the know, you’ll know what I mean. Apparently his DOC (drug of choice) is LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), which works well with this otherworldly, hallucinatory sound. Even Justin Bieber (my Granddaughter’s favorite, I call him “the Beaver” to her), or at least his management recognized Chance’s skills…
Justin Bieber – Confident (ft. Chance the Rapper)
On a side note, that is the first time I have listened to the Beaver, and I can’t deny why he is so popular, it’s so tame, perfect for the masses, like a sugar substitute. Anyway, Chance’s first outing, the 10 Day mixtape is out of this world good, considering his age and not having mountains of production behind it…
Brain Cells
Family (ft Vic Mensa and Sulaiman)
He steps it up a little bit with his next and latest outing Acid Rap, a little more experience, a little more production, sophisticated, cultivated. I love how he has this smart ass tone, like everything he says could be followed up with a smirk, the only way to capture the colors of his rap would be in a cartoon, he’s Loony Tunes…
Everybody’s Something (ft. Saba & BJ The Chicago Kid)
I like how on this one he samples a conversation with his Father, who is praising his son…nothing better than being proud of your progeny, overcome by your offspring…
Everything’s Good (Good Ass Outro)
The vid below was my first exposure, the tune my son Liam turned me onto…

[Intro/Bridge]
Thirsty, thirsty, tryna choose
I mean, I know I’m pretty cool
My Nitty bag, my kitty boost
I got the juice, I got the juice

[Verse 1]
Chano, Chatham’s own
Foolies glad I’m home
Even my haters kinda glad I’m on
Rest In Peace to my Vagabond
Rapper song, singer – suspended, subpoena
For misdemeanors, dreamer, held back ass is lowkey still a senior
And I still shake up BO Squad, praying for my BroBois
City on the Come Up, shout that nigga Sosa!
Shout my nigga Fat Trel, shout my nigga Joseph
Playing Buenos Aires while they sleepin’ Buenas Noches!
Wonder if I wrote this cause it’s so crisp
The most brokest cold stock broker winter solstice
I could win an Oscar, Russian Accent Husky
Acid addict, Costly avid Actor
Kevin Costner

[Interlude]
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! TURN UP TURN UP!

[Hook x2]
Juice! (Juice!)
Juice! (Juice!)
Juice! (Juice!)
Juice! (Juice!)
I got the juice, I got the juice (YUP!)

[Verse 2]
God give me one sentence more
Maybe I just gotta get suspended more?
Hash tag it, get mentions for it
Make you love it, get it trending more
And then act humble
Hear some bull that some dude mumble
Wantin’ to jump dude, but let that nigga punk you
Knowin bitch niggas wanna bring guns to the rumbles, igh!
But I love y’all souls
Don’t let the juice spill Pac!
Blue pill pop
Til you feel good enough to pop the popped bitch in the blue heels yop!
That one – drown in the juice nigga
Hunnid proof get found in a youth nigga
Stop with all the trynna introduce nigga
Everybody know you dude you the new nigga!
Hows it feel to be you? Yo no sé
I ain’t really been myself since Rod passed
I ain’t even really need that shop class
I ain’t really been weak since pops smashed
I’m a genius, a mothafuckin pop smash
Hit sensei, master
Jack and Lindsey, Wiley, Kembe
Been paid, 10 Day been they FAFSA

[Interlude]
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!! TURN UP TURN UP!

[Hook]

[Verse 3]
Yup, JUUUUUUUGO
You never tasted paper
Tripped, racing yaself trynna chase the paper
I just faced a Vega
And you love being Kobe when you make the lay up
Till you realize everybody in the world fuckin hates the Lakers, Hahaha
And then everybody wanna sip, til the juice spill everybody want a bib
And then everybody wanna dip
Told you I ain’t worried, I ain’t scared of the booth
All you can do is spit a verse of the truth
Merge the mixture with the purest and the fruits
And the thirst, just the worst, it’s the curse of the juice!

[Hook + Bridge]

[Outro]
Juice, juice, juice, juice… yup!
Juice, juice, juice, juice… yup!

Somebody went and compiled a bunch of Chance’s featured appearances for you to listen to…

Beastie Boys – Heart Attack Man

if could dance it would be like thisI’ve done a lot of shit in my life, I have skills and I have experiences, but there’s lots of things I wish I could do.  One is to be able to proficiently play an instrument, another is to be able to dance.  My inability to do those two things has one cause, I have no rhythm.  This guy here is a stud, he’s got style, the moves and most importantly rhythm.  How the fuck does a guy like myself, love music so much, and yet not be able to do anything with it other than be a listener?  About the only dancing I can do proficiently is stomp around in a circle, slam, mosh.  Oh yeah, pogo, I can pogo.  I used to think I could skank.  In fact, I had this girlfriend way back when, who liked to go to the clubs to dance, you know hip hop and whatnot, and that’s what I would do is skank real slow.  That girlfriend was particularly good looking among other things, and I’m sure half the dudes in the clubs were probably wondering what that hottie was doing with such a dork…hahaha.

The Beastie Boys have rhythm though, hip hop rhythm and hardcore rhythm…

False Trinity digital download

FT1Who says the Midwest doesn’t know how to rock and roll? No doubt, rockers False Trinity out of the dinky town of Mountain View, Missouri (I checked it out on Google Maps, 578 miles, the closest of any band I’ve reviewed so far) can give a guy a lesson or two on how to rock hard. From the outset, for me, they’ve got two things going for them, that small town inspiration, the kind fueled by boredom and disgust, and they’re female fronted. And how about that band shot, stellar, whoever took that, hit the nail on the fucking head and could probably be taking pictures for coffee table books.  After a couple of listens that left me smirking in aural delight, my response to Jennifer, who’s on lead vox,
“Howdy Jen and thanx for hitting up Mustard Relics. I bet my small town is smaller than yours…hahaha. Nice to see southern mid-westerners rockin it out. I’m always down for a female fronted band, not a sexual or sexist thing, it’s just that women are under represented in R&R. We need more Joan Jetts and Eve Libertines. Your band hits it hard at times and shows some variety in sound. My two favorites are the first and last tunes on your Reverbnation page, kinda more heavy Rock-ish. The rest of the tunes remind me of a band called Snot, neu metalish with the cookie monster vocals. You guys pull it off but I just prefer the other two. Is there anything you would like to add or say about the band, what you guys are about, influences, the scene there in Mountain View and the surrounding area, what you think about gas prices, etc.”
She kindly responded to my response and queries,
“Thanks for the kind words, and I agree! Women are way under represented in the rock world (and most are only recognized for their sexy bodies). My father would always play guitar for me and my sisters when we were little (things like Eric Clapton and Lynard Skynard among others) and I always loved singing along. Then when I got older I learned to play guitar myself and started with just me and my Taylor. Then when I met my husband (Davis, the rhythm guitarist) we started this band with a few good friends. It was just a hobby for empty Friday nights filled with drinking games and lots of creativity. Davis and the other guitarist J.t. used to switch on and off with bass since we didn’t have a bassist. So when picking a name we picked False Trinity not knowing the religious background of the name. But we were four and not three so we were, in truth, a false trinity. We’ve had a few people rag us about the name, but we just continue to tell them that it has no religious meaning at all. HA! Well anyway, we finally found a bassist and have been doing this for about 5 years now. We write about the crappy ass government, my epileptic brain or bad childhood experiences. Just life for us really… But we all love playing music and even if we don’t make it big one day we will continue to do what we do. As for our first album, I want it to be out by the beginning of summer at least. The bassist Dustin and drummer Jake run their own studio called Jacks Fork Recording and they do all of our recording and mastering, so you can imagine that they are very, very picky… This is the third time we have recorded this album. First re-do was due to bassist change and the other two were because they just weren’t happy with it. But I’d say we should have it completely done by at least May.”
So, after many more listens to the six songs they have on their Reverbnation, I’m digging on the whole thing. There’s a lot going on each of these songs, and some serious complexity to the compositions. Jen has a fantastic voice, she has the ability to croon and then in the next verse bellow, reminding me a bit of the singer of Kittie (am I the only person that likes that band). The band itself, is this metallic rockin’ thing and they can switch back and forth from almost a ballad type of pace, to chugga chunka, to a distorted jam, and they do so freely throughout these songs. From the picture, they look fairly young, but the sound is sophisticated and nobody sucks at playing their instrument.  These guys/gal, hopefully have the opportunity to gig around and share their sound, and I imagine we’ll be checking them out again when they get that LP released.  My favorite tune is still the first one…