Category Archives: Random Riffage

Nostalgic Rambling: Hostage Life – “Walking Papers”

I’d been meaning to write this post for a while, ever since seeing a recent news story about the amount of doctor-assisted suicides provided in Canada since they became legal (More than 1300, with cancer being the main cause). It may seem like a weird transition into talking about a band I grew up listening to but it should mostly make sense.

Hostage Life were a Toronto punk band active from 2002 to 2009. They released 3 albums, “Sing for the Enemy”, “Walking Papers” and “Centre of the Universe”. I started listening to them when they were getting radio play for their newest single at the time, “This Song Was Written By A Committee” on what was then Toronto’s new rock station, 102.1 The Edge.

As a kid halfway through high school, my reasons for digging this band were pretty straightforward; they were loud and they sounded cool. I was quick to purchase “Walking Papers” soon after hearing their single and the album has stuck with me until today.

What I didn’t realise at the time was how brutally human “Walking Papers” was and how they were singing songs about dirt-floor, physical issues that tend to be neglected by most punk bands. Such as the song that spawned the opening ramble about assisted suicide, “How to Die With a Smile”.

When I first heard this song at 16 or so, it flew far over my head. Death was barely a concept to me, yet alone the thought of choosing to end your own life due an incurable illness but as I grew older and kept hearing these songs, they all started to make more sense.

Songs like “The Quietest Mutiny” or “Sons of Hostage Life”, about working for people you hate to pay your bills and keep yourself fed. “Inside this shirt and tie, my pride and debt collide” is not something I was hearing from other punk bands at the time. Sure, striving to overthrow capitalist western society may be a noble goal but I still gotta go to work in the morning.

Even a song I have had the good fortune not to experience, “Fuck, I Hope You’re Not Pregnant”, is the kind of scathingly honest music that kept me listening to these guys year after year. It’s an album I never grew out of but only keep growing in to.

You can find the whole album on Youtube, provided by their old label, Underground Operations.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

Trash Pipe: BUMMER – “Freedom Cobra”

BUMMER are nasty 3 piece from Kansas City who I found out about after they signed on to tour with WHORES this spring. They just released a new track, “Freedom Cobra”, following up another track they released in October of last year, “King Shit”.

Both of these are fuckin’ new age rippers with a potent cocktail of sludge, grind, hardcore, punk and knuckle-dragging. The riff on “King Shit” in particular, licks its fingers and jams them deep in your lizard brain, getting that neck loose. It’s abrasive, chest-pounding beer swill that has got me plenty stoked for their trip to Toronto.

Catch their upcoming split with PINKO on April 7th or see them on tour with WHORES in the coming months.

BUMMER Facebook

BUMMER Tour Dates

4/6 Lawrence, KS – Replay Lounge *
4/7 Kansas City, MO – Mills Record Company *
4/8 Minneapolis, MN – Hexagon Bar *
4/9 Milwaukee, WI – Quarters *
4/10 Chicago, IL – Burlington *
4/11 Columbia, MO – Cafe Berlin *
4/12 Hot Springs, AR – TBA *
4/13 Denton, TX – Gatsby’s Mansion *
4/14 Austin, TX – Sidewinder *
4/15 San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger *
5/12 Atlanta, GA- The Drunken Unicorn ^
5/13 Memphis, TN – Growlers ^
5/14 Louisville, KY – Haymarket ^
5/15 Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups ^
5/16 Canton, OH – Buzzbin ^
5/17 Washington DC – DC9 ^
5/18 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie ^
5/19 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus ^
5/21 Buffalo, NY – Mohawk ^
5/22 Montreal, QC – Turbo Haus ^
5/23 Toronto, ON – Coalition ^
5/24 Detroit, MI – Loving Touch ^
5/26 Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club ^
5/28 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room ^
5/29 Denver, CO – Hi Dive ^
5/30 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge ^
6/01 Seattle, WA – The Highline ^
6/02 Portland, OR – Ash Street Saloon ^
6/03 Sacramento, CA – Starlite Lounge ^
6/04 Oakland, CA – Eli’s Mile High Club ^
6/05 Los Angeles, CA – The Echo ^
6/06 San Diego, CA – Soda Bar ^
6/07 Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge ^
6/09 Oklahoma City, OK – The Blue Note ^
6/10 Austin, TX – Barracuda ^
6/11 Dallas, TX – Three Links ^

* with P I N K O
^ with Whores. & WRONG

 

Shitrock Saturdays: The Rare Cuts

I live in a rural area, so the choices of radio station you can get in the car are pretty limited. The two rock stations that come in both use basically the same catalogue of music that never gets updated, so a daily part of your life is hearing the same song 3 times a day.

This makes for an interesting mindset, where songs that most people would consider classics give you a headache and/or crushing apathy. People would look at you funny if you actually told them what you think of Bohemian Rhapsody when it comes on for the fifth fucking time that day.

Don’t even get me started on ACDC during the morning commute.

However, even among the constant repeats of the worst that the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s had to offer, there are still some songs that only get played on rare occasions. Songs that you still like and don’t get played enough to beat them into drudgery. You might hear them every couple weeks, or every couple months but each time is a pleasant surprise.

Here are three of those tracks.

Everyone always bitches about how Reservoir Dogs ruined this song for them because they couldn’t separate their ears from their head…bad joke. Anyway, great song drunk, great song sober, great song hungover.

This might get more airtime after Guardians of the Galaxy shot this song back into the mainstream hive-mind but even before then, this was a rare treat on the local shitrock station. You hear the ooga, you reach for the volume.

DOUG AND THE FUCKIN SLUGS. EVERY. DAMN. TIME.

I can’t explain my deep-seated love for the slick sounds of Doug and his Slugs but goddamn, when this comes on the radio once a month, its my jam.

Randoms Recap: Into Orbit, Crystal Fairy and Chetyre Muzhika

I know I’m not gonna find the time to write about all of this music separately, so it’s all getting crammed into one post. Better something than nothing eh?

Into Orbit – New Album; “Unearthing”

Into Orbit are an instrumental post-metal duo from New Zealand, heavy in the vein of Russian Circles. Dark and moody jams, with frothy interludes and some strong grooves. The cold Arctic ocean vibes are strong with this one. Calm and bracing, like a picnic by the lake in February.

Favourite Track: “The Archer”. Red Fang gone post metal jam that caught me totally by surprise.

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Melvins + Mars Volta + Butcherettes = Crystal Fairy

I found out about this from Rolling Stone of all places (I had time to kill at work OK). A new alt-rock supergroup with King Buzzo, Dale Crover, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Teri Gender-Bender coming together to form Crystal Fairy. Don’t love the name but the music is solid from what I’ve listened too so far. Not blowing my brains against the wall like I may have expected it too but still enjoyable all the same. Stream it below and decide for yourself.

Chetyre Muzhika (Четыре Мужика) EP – “Howl (Вой)”

I can’t say or spell the name but hell, Chetyre Muzhika are a badass stoner rock band from Russia and “Howl” is their newest EP, released in October of last year. It was released through the CSBR label, which I’m only mentioning cuz it stands for Crab Stoned But Rocking, which is awesome.

Anyway, these guys put out some rock-solid jams, with punchy guitar-driven grooves and neck straining riffs. All 4 tracks show a slightly different flavour but all of them come together to make it worth going back for seconds.

Favorite Track: “мустанга (Mustang)” This track is weird as hell in the best way possible and also has some of the sickest riffs on the whole album.

Vomit Fetish

I’ll having something to say about the new Red Fang release, “Only Ghosts”, later in the week but until then here’s one of my all-time favourites from 2011’s “Murder the Mountains”.

I always loved this album but had passed this song by, giving the other earworms like “Hank is Dead” or “Wires” most of my attention. It wasn’t until I had sat with this album for almost 3 years before this track really jived with me but once it did it went deep.

Trollops, Harlots and WHORES – “Baby Teeth”

I was sitting here with a spare hour to kill and decided to trawl the digital sewers to see if I could find anything worth writing about.

New Whores track? Yeah, that’ll do.

WHORES are an Atlanta-based noise rock trio that have been one of the fucking best bands in heavy music over the last couple years. Both “Ruiner” in 2011 and “Clean” in 2013 have been in constant rotation through my ears. Waiting three years for the next album has been a long haul, the only consolation being a Toronto show they played last winter.

I can’t really give them shit (other than more Canadian dates) as these motherfuckers have been touring close to non-stop for the last three years, stripping back the fat and greasing up their claws to pop out their newest album, “Gold”, slated for release on October 28th.

“Baby Teeth” is the first track getting shown to the world and goddamn, it doesn’t disappoint. I could sit here thinking of several different ways to describe this track and drown you in too many adjectives, or you can skip my rabble, scroll down and hit fuckin’ play bud.

Billy Joel said it best, “… you can’t get the sound from a story in a magazine …”

Occular Orgy – High On Fire and Red Fang

More videos! Cuz I’m lazy and haven’t bothered to type down anything for the small foothill of albums I’ve got bookmarked. Still, these videos deserve a mention while they’re still fresh…

Red Fang – Shadows

The burlmeisters in Red Fang have a new album coming on October 14th entitled “Only Ghosts“. They have released a video for a track called “Shadows” directed by their longtime compatriot – Whitey McConnaughy.

The video is fairly solid – a tribute to the thermal-vision alien of your dreams – but the real standout is the new track. I didn’t love the last album but “Shadows” brings some new twists to the table and I can’t wait to hear the rest.

High On Fire – The Black Plot

High on Fire are legends. This music video is legendary.

A He-Man D&D skullfuck marathon with a bad acid trip and quiet weekend spent huffing some paint – If you liked the movie Heavy Metal you’ll love this.

Holy shit drum cam: Mutoid Man – Scavengers

Musicians are impressive people. They create brain-pleasing and head-rocking sounds from thin air, conjuring and manipulating notes and melodies like some sort of voodoo witch doctor. Or at least that’s what it looks like to a layman like me. Sure, someone with musical training can pick apart the songs, analyze the playing and deconstruct the song, but I much prefer to be that slack-jawed ape in the audience, throwing horns and headbanging at the sheer wizardry of it all.

Mutoid Man‘s debut didn’t immediately catch me ear when it was released but it has been slowly growing on me, working its way into my regular rotation. “Scavengers” is the second track from their album and is a prime example of all the math-punk-distortion goodness these guys have on tap. So strap a Go-Pro to your drummers chest and you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time.

Listen and purchase the whole album below:

Album of the Night: Knut – Wonder

Again with the whole laziness thing. I spent most of the day cranking through dynamic finite element simulations to a cumulative yield of fuck all. My brain is broken and Switzerland’s Knut is massaging it back into shape. OG heads will know this genre-establishing math-core band from the early 2000’s, one I’ve just had the pleasure of discovering in the last couple of years.

“Wonder” came out in 2010 on Hydra Head Records and was their last release before their dissolution. There’s a reason Knut are hailed as the inventors of a genre and that’s because they fucking destroy when it comes to alternating scathing waves of riffage with ear-warping distortion and sci-fi ambiance. It is the perfect blend of groove, crushing weight and instrumental experimentation. Equally as heavy and destructive as it is interesting and creative.

Hydra Head had one of the best rosters around and you can find all of their music over on Bandcamp, including this album. Enjoy.