Bullets or Balloons – Lifestyle Toxins

BoBSomething comforting knowing that there’s all kinds of killer music out tucked away in every corner of this round planet. You can even find it in Olympia, Washington, in the guise of Bullets or Balloons. Chris, the guitar player hit me up a little while back to give his thing a listen, I’m always game, and I couldn’t have been more stoked about this jazz punk bit of goodness. Before I go any further, or you do, you can skip my psycho babble altogether and read a straight up professional, thorough and well written review over at Fringe Music (enlightening and inspiring to read from a fellow music lover who’s got his shit together). So, Bullets or Balloons, gotta dig that name. Well my immediate, and then delayed response to Chris was, “Dude, you have quite the three piece going on, I’d match you up against some of the best of them any day, and you are one shredding guitar player, huge sound man. There’s quite the variety in your compositions, you guys are all over the place, but I’d say it’s all really rhythmic, like a complex garage strumming, and kind of has a jazzy feel with some of the sudden changes within the songs. Something most folks may not mention, but I really dig how you’ve got the lyrics included with the songs on the Bandcamp page. Not a lot of bands take the time to do that, but whoever writes your songs is a real wordsmith and I enjoyed following along with the songs… “ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country is doing to you.” Right out of the gate, the music is gail force winds in your face and tight as you hope the nuts and bolts are on your automobile. From there, there is no predicting what kind of tempo or rhythm you’re gong to get within each song and then from song to song. I called them “jazz punk” and that may not be fair, as labels and categories tend to limit. Jazzy punk is what call those Jesus Lizard kind of bands with an obvious snotty punk ancestry, but far from being sloppy like most of the first punk rockers were, this is highly evolved Phd in music kind of stuff. I think musicians probably can appreciate this differently than the average Joe (me), but nevertheless enjoyable across the board. I turned down a review the other day, because the music had absolutely no balls, no flavor, like a sandwich from the gas station and I didn’t feel like bagging on a bunch of hardworking musicians that obvious felt good about their art, otherwise they wouldn’t have released it. Bullets or Balloons have fucking balls! Listen to the noodling on this one…
“What Circumcision”

“their eyes keep looking out the backs of their heads/what once was their home is now from where they fled/run and hide can’t run and hide forever/live or die their futures who will decide”

These guys are like a cup of rich coffee with a couple of shots of espresso (my favorite drink btw), fricken wired man! Anyway, if I’ve peaked your interest go check out their Bandcamp, their Facebook, their label’s Facebook or their Youtube.


…a vid they released last year…

…and to show you these guys aren’t just a studio oddity, live, they don’t just stick the knife in ya, they give it a twist as well…

Resistance Anti-NSBM compilation volume 1 (benefit for Emilio)

anti NSBM flyer2 copy

Got a request from a person outta Greece to hype this benefit comp. Here’s the deal…

“A group of around 60 fascists (mostly from CasaPound) attacked activists from Cremona’s Dordoni social centre. The attack on seven or eight activists was launched by around ten people, and very soon bolstered by 40 more. Emilio, one of the activists and someone very well known in Cremona, was beaten with a bar and then kicked in the face and head as he was lying on the ground. The attack appears to have been prepared in advance, taking advantage of a football match to bring together fascists from Parma, Brescia and other towns with those from Cremona. Emilio is now in a very serious condition, he is in coma. Dordoni’s activists have made a complaint that the fascists were merely identified by the police and then released but that the activists who were defending Dordoni were charged.
Anti-racist activists from Cremona and from all over Italy have called for a national anti-racist demonstration in Cremona on 24 January, and for solidarity demonstrations in many different cities. Clashes broke out at an anti-racist rally in Cremona, Italy when around 2,000 protesters took to the streets to object to this attack by far-right group supporters. According to La Stampa, the protesters were trying to reach the headquarters of CasaPound and broke windows and vandalised streets in the process.
This episode is not isolated: there have been many different attacks let by CasaPound or other far-right movements over the last few months. In September, in Naples, a high school student was beaten by some far-right individuals. In Rome, in November, a group of far-right militants attacked supporters of Ardita San Paolo football team.
All the money from this compilation will go to Emilio for medical care and to CSA Dordoni squaters.
Racism: the maximum of hatred for the minimum of reason.
Love music – hate racism!

I 100% support this kind of cause and the comp it’s self is well worth a listen. The only two bands I was familiar with were Doom and Void Forger who perform quite well but the bands that slapped my face, were Ruinas, Iskra and Norn (that fucking bass is perfect). This is a reminder that in Europe there is a lot of tension caused by the fascists, where as here in the states the Fascism is hidden beneath a skim layer of patriotism. In case you’re an idiot and don’t see fascism here in the states too here is some brain food…

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread
domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.
5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.
6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.
7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.
9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.
10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.
14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Anyway, give this comp a listen and support if you can…

Tina Frasier Memorial 2014

I was not close friends with Tina, but more of an acquaintance. I don’t remember much about her except that I would see her around at all the shows, but I know that she was a long time Humboldt County scenster. It was the cancer that got her and it affected a lot of folx up in that area. So my buddy James, another big part of the Humboldt scene for decades, sent me a CD the other day with lots of cool Humshit that I will be sharing in the upcoming months, among them this comp, that I’m assuming he made. This is just a sampling of Humboldt bands, really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the talent coming outta that place over the decades, a lot of them you can get more of here at MR.  31 songs and right at the 80 minute mark make it a nice hefty listen and would fit perfectly on a CDr so you can play it in your jalopy…

Porch – Walking Boss

PorchI’ve said it a million times, if you want to have a good start to your record/CD, wrap it in some killer artwork…no doubt about it on this bad boy. This is one I got for review last March, so almost a year ago. Here’s what Michael had to say back then…
“We’re a band called Porch, 2/3 from Oakland, CA and 1/3 from Nashville TN. We recently made a new record, self released Oct 31 2013, recorded with Tim Green at Louder Studios. It has been graciously compared to Jesus Lizard, Codeine, Unwound and Karp. We’d love for you to check it out. If you’re interested in a bandcamp download code for the record, let us know. We’re self promoted and would love a review if you dig the record.”
I was blown away, especially by the song “Bow To The Clown”. Humbled I wrote back, “I would think you would be hitting up bigger more popular publications rather than my little Mom and Pop operation”, and asked “what makes Porch tick, what makes you want to create, what does your music mean to you?” Well didn’t hear back for some time, never did find out what makes them tick and the post ended up way back in the digital stockpile. Then in July I heard from Michael again, this time announcing the tape release of Walking Boss and a NW tour, along with a link to a very well put together interview at Custom Made Music with guitarist Todd Huth. No clue why, at this point, I didn’t jump all over it and write something up…my only guess is that the planets were not aligned properly and I forgot to take my psychotropics. Well, I just got word from Michael that they are doing a Kickstarter to release this bad boy on vinyl. Now is the time, I said to myself, to show this incredible band a little support, the tiny bit MR has to offer anyway…
So except to say that they’re killer, I haven’t really said anything about the band. Without a fucking doubt, these here three fellas know they’re way around their instruments. There is absolutely no hesitation or limitation in their playing and that playing is as one, like the Borg on Star Trek. I find myself saying it too often to describe a band, but these guys would fit well on the Am Rep or Touch and Go labels. The show of the century would be Porch, Jesus Lizard and Killdozer. The first time I listened to them playing through my crappy stock monitor speakers, but tonight it’s all about the new head phones and I hear this beautifully heavy well balanced mix of bass and treble. The singing is quite remarkable, soulful and heartfelt, and the lyrics make you think and reflect. There’s a lot of variety in these compositions ranging from from what you might call to mellow, to stuff that makes you want to throw on your boots and stomp something or someone…and they go back and forth seamlessly. This band is bigger than this blog. They’re well represented in the virtual world, with a Bandcamp, a Facebook, a Twitter, and their own web page Porch-Noise. So now after all that babbling, why don’t you give them a spin…


Digital Dungeon – Flowers For Me digital EP

DD-SSFontana is where these two mysterious dudes call home, also from a long running Power Violence group which shall remain nameless for their own diabolical purposes. From the get go you know these guys are fucking nuts. First thoughts were of a super punky Warlock Pinchers. My reply was, “You’ve taken that hectic-ness of your PV band and turned it electro, danceable even.” Dancing, as in to short bursts of spastic insanity. I put them under the Industrial category, but this is a long ways from those rudiments, this is like some sort of psychotic EBM. The lyrics are pretty silly, quirky, ridiculous at times, almost like early Beck (sorry to use a name that is now big in the music industry, it wasn’t always so), The beats almost have a New Wave sound to them, or kind of like 80’s video games. The samples just add to the mystery of these two nuts. I know these guys would be fun to hang with, they have boatloads of creativity. They’ve got 8 tunes up for download/listen at Soundcloud and, what band doesn’t these days, a Faecbook. Give em a spin…

100% DIY, just the way it should be, they are responsible for the music and the vids they do, which you can find at Youtube. This is my favorite of the two…