I don't know The Morlocks. First album was released in 1985. They had LPs on Voxx and Epitaph. I know a million bands... seen thousands... I know the Motards, the Mortals, Mono Men, Marked Men, Monarchs, Mortal Micronotz, Moxy, Mud City Manglers, Mudhoney, Muffs, Mule, Mummies, the Makers and Mutants. Up until a couple of years ago I didn't know I missed out on Sonny Vincent and the Testors. Sometimes you just miss things and then get to fall in love with an entire discography!
Not sure why I don't know the Morlocks. Maybe you know the Morlocks. Maybe you already are drooling over the release of "Bring on the Mesmeric Condition". I know I am loving it! This is garage punk. Part psychobilly, part punk rock, part garage, all energy. The Düsseldorf, Germany based band reminds me of all my favorite parts of the Flesheaters. I love the Flesheaters. I think if you are like me and you've ever liked the NY Dolls, Vibrators, New Bomb Turks, Cramps, Stooges, Devil Dogs or almost anything on Estrus or Crypt records, you will dig.
Currently based out of Dusseldorf, vocalist Leighton Koizumihas has gathered a lineup that will ring a lot of bells... including bands even I know... Rob Louwers - drums (Fuzztones, Q-65, Link Wray), Oliver Pilsner - Bass (Fuzztones, Cheeks, Montesas, Magnificent Brotherhood), Bernadette - Guitar (Sonny Vincent, Humpers ) and Marcello Salis (Gravedigger V, Hangee V).
This will be released on CD, digitally and on vinyl (with download cards), with a limited edition of 100 copies on violet vinyl (how the hell am I gonna score this one!). "Time To Move" was released as a single elsewhere awhile back. Give it a listen and love.
The Droogettes are an all-female punk band from Philadelphia. "Clockwork Girls" is their debut LP after plenty of EP and split releases.
I have had the pleasure of watching The Droogettes evolve as a band from their beginning in 2012. They've already played Rebellion twice and have a split EP with Vice Squad. That is legendary.
They are the real deal. This is no swindle. No put on. Jenn is one of the toughest lead vocalists of any identity. Rachel is a punk rock legend (here, around the world). Elija rips that guitar with style and power. Ginger pulls double duty, also playing drums in the Ramoms (all-female Ramones tribute band).
The songs are tough, roots punk and oi, with hooks that stick and a UK early 80s feel.
Check the videos for "No Apologies", "Bitter Old Man" and "Teenage Nights". If the video and song "No Apologies" doesn't sell you on this band, I would think you are possibly reading the wrong blog. The video/song is a classic.
As a record nerd, I purchased both colors of vinyl... and just so you know, I don't do that often. One copy is usually good enough for me. I love this band. Feel they deserve my support and I walk around with their songs banging around the inside of my head. Give them a try, I suspect you will love them too.
200 Hi-Lighter Yellow
300 Purple Splatter
also on CD
My son recommends the "gatorade lemon lime" (hi-lighter yellow) color vinyl.
Looking forward to seeing The Droogettes as the open for the Vibrators in the Lehigh Valley PA and wish I could see them on the cruise!
I love how Tommy Blank explains why they wrote a song called "(I Just Want To) Slam"; "We wanted to capture some of the nervousness and unpredictability of our early experiences at punk shows".
Yes, The Blankz are not teenagers and neither am I. But I certainly do remember the excitement of being a teenager and how excited I was to join in and/or start a circle pit. Skanking, slamming and just releasing all of that energy.
There is a lot to be said for keeping things simple and remembering your roots. A fun energetic song that brings a smile to my face 36 years after stepping in to my first pit.
The Blankz vantage point from the pit is a little different than one of my other favorite songs about the pit, from "This is Boston Not L.A." by the band Decadence. The Decadence version of "Slam" includes the lyrics "I'm gonna bash my brains out, I kill people I don't know, I'm gonna kick and scream and crush, I'm gonna hit him from behind", while the Blankz are trying to "dodge those fists".
"Baby's Turning Blue" is a quick point (1:42 to be exact) about our Opioid fixated society. Tommy Blank is a sober man and the song paints an image of young punk facing addiction.
I love the infectious, bouncy, new wave, meets vintage punk of the Blankz. Think the Dickies meets the Briefs at a Buzzcocks show in Los Angeles. Looking forward to all the 7"s.
I also want to point out that Slope records has some other amazing releases. Hop on over to their webstore https://sloperecords.com/shop/vinyl/ and check out releases by N.D., U.P.S, U.S. Bombs, Feederz, Exterminators and many others.
Release date: Friday, August 17th 2018 Hometown Record Release Show: Friday August 17, @ St. Bernards, Bethlehem PA
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
Tile's "Come On Home, Stranger" deftly combines the best of vintage noise rock offered by record labels such as AmRep, SubPop and Touch & Go with current heavy musical influences for twelve songs of delicious mayhem.
Morekin photo by Jamie Heim
TILE is Michael Morekin (guitar/vocals), Ray Gurz (bass/vocals) and Michael Dumoff (drums). Tile is headquartered in the Lehigh Valley Pennsylvania (Allentown and vicinity), which is also where I have resided for most of the last five decades.
"Come On Home, Stranger" was permanently, sonically documented at Shards Recording Studio in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with the assistance of owner and engineer Matt Molchany.
The general musical theme is a dirge, a word which here means a mournful song or piece of music. You have feedback, pounding and yelling. Influences from Unsane, Cows, Chokebore, Laughing Hyenas, Torche/Floor and maybe a nod to fellow Pennsylvania noise-mongers, Pissed Jeans.
All those influences are expertly crafted to create twelve songs that are actually catchy, a word which here means a tune that is instantly appealing and memorable. Dirge with hooks.
I asked Ray if he had lyrics available for me to read. I am horrible at understanding even the most distinct and easily interpreted lyrics. So, no. Ray didn't get me any lyric sheet. So that has left me to figure this out on my own.
With that said, I truly believe the band must have spent much of the last four years since their debut LP, seriously considering the titles, lyrics and order the songs would be arranged on the record.
Tile leads you in with the inviting album title, "Come On Home, Stranger", complete with welcoming artwork.
Photo by Tim_Wynarczuk
The first track starts off with an upbeat, killer drum beat, then brutal low end guitars with plenty of feedback. Oh yeah. This is gonna be fun. The track is titled "Change The World", with the (as I hear it) lyric, "I'm gonna change the world, when I wake up, I'm gonna push you down, when I stand up". So yeah, changing the world is a good thing, but we start to see another side with the qualifications, a word which here means a restriction in meaning or application: a limiting modification.
Track two is called "Swing Away", which has a ruthless Torche-like riff. I interpret swinging away, as a baseball term, like reaching for the fences, going for broke... but then you hear the lyrics snarling "drama queen" and "be nice to your sister" and I get the impression we are not really having fun on this record and maybe the invitation might be more sinister than welcoming.
"Be More", track three, sounds like more inspirational talk. The musical direction is abrasive and pounding. There is a Big Black feel to a portion of the song (awesome). When they belt out, "He's home", it doesn't sound quite like, "yeah, Daddy's home". More like a dire pronouncement. "Trying to get the joke, trying to get you to smoke".
It becomes completely clear by track four, "Father", that any possible cheery implications the title may have lead you to believe were quite sarcastic. "You left too soon". Geez. I can't make out much other but this song feels brutally devastating. A magnificently executed musical death march.
Photo by Jamie Heim
All hope is erased with "Flammable Human" (subtlety is gone), which is yet another example of Tile's talent for arranging different styles, sounds, direction to create memorable songs. These tracks are crafted.
"I'll End You" begins as a haunting procession, developing into a heavy sludge attack and ending with an obvious threat.
We get a breath with "Play Safe", which of course leads to a false sense of security. One of the most driving songs of the dozen. The guitar tone touches that sound that I so love. Mixed with a drum beat that always brings to mind the Exploited. You may not get my reference, but believe me, it brings a vicious smile to my face. An explosive, hardly safe song. "Oh God help me".
After the driving, "Play Safe", remarkably, "Landmines" takes it to another level of energy, tension and release.
"One Cold Knife" sounds like we are about to bring this story to a conclusion, and this sounds like The Cherubs covering early Saccharine Trust songs (this is a good thing and in my mind sounds like this song). "Lard Rats" continues in this brutal, punishing, heavy noise theme. "Hey there, nightmare, its been so long since I've seen you".
Doubling back to the enticing titles that lead to beautiful ugliness themes, up next we have have "Pleasure Chaser". I think Ray is telling us "Doomsday is here". Again, the musically distinctive parts of the songs are varied and expertly assembled. Building and crashing, effectively creating moods, painting a picture, taking you on an aural ride.
Photo by Jamie Heim
The closure occurs in "Room Ten". I think there was physical and emotional pain in that room. Just down the hall from Black Flag's "Room 13".
But then again, I can't understand lyrics very well. But I can understand music... and "Come On Home, Stranger" is a mighty album that will be on my best of 2018 list...
A wild child in love with Scream's first album, "Still Screaming".
Released in 1983 on Dischord, that album still ranks as one record I would recommend everyone have in their hardcore collection. Nothing sounded like it then and nothing sounds like it now.
The next four albums by Scream... I ignored. "This Side Up", "Banging the Drum", "No More Censorship" and "Fumble".
Why did I ignore? Not sure.
My friends still were buying everything Scream released.
Maybe I was just focusing too much on Finnish thrash and speed/death metal from 1985-1988.
Maybe I loved the first Scream album so much, that I didn't want to give Scream the chance to tarnish what I viewed as a true classic album. And yes I know people throw that word "classic" around with great ease. But seriously, that first Scream album is a classic in my opinion.
I was even getting promotional records from RAS records back then for my zine FOE. I was in to what that predominantly reggae record label was doing back then. Did some feature articles on their reggae releases. But I do not remember this LP. Maybe I reviewed it. Maybe I had one of the other FOE writers handle it.
So I end up with a digital promotional copy of "No More Censorship" in early 2018. I think I ignored it then too. Obviously ignored as it is August.
So I put on my headphones, head outside and give it a listen.
I made a mistake.
I can't stop listening to this album.
I was lucky enough to search out and find a Record Store Day edition of this LP on yellow vinyl, regular price as well. Southern Lord is only selling the silver vinyl edition. So, I believe this is a thirty year destiny sort of thing.
Dave Grohl plays drums on this.
Straight from the press release: "The reissue is dedicated to the influential photographer Naomi Petersen (photo above) who was instrumental in ensuring that the original No More Censorship master tapes survived. As a long-time friend of the band, Naomi has captured many memorable images of an era, including countless SST bands and SCREAM. Years after their first encounter, Naomi found the original tapes gathering dust, and passed them onto Pete Stahl before they perished. SCREAM saw this as a second chance to put the record out. The way they always wanted. Subsequently, Southern Lord had the tapes baked and prepped for a remix at Dave Grohl's 606 Studio."
In 2018, I find Scream's "NMC17" exciting. A band that evolved from that first classic hardcore band, to a band that sounds pro, has energy, speaks from the heart and put together a diverse, solid album. There is an empowering "feel" and an "energy" to these songs.
Southern Lord always does a fantastic job with their reissues. The vinyl, the booklet the sound.
I was going through something. Stressful. Agitating. Tense. It covered a few months time. I couldn't get out of it, but I could have approached it differently. It took a bit of an awakening to force me to realize that my approach was starting from a place of stress and anxiety rather than beginning from a place of calm. These two items put me back on track. The first is a list of 10 things. Billy Cox's facebook page posts a ton of "self help" styled motivational images. This meme (is that what the kids call these things) appeared in my feed on a day I needed it.
Each of those items I needed to hear. Those ten things reminded me of the Serenity prayer...
the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.
the ability to do something that frightens one.
the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
If I don't come from a place of serenity at the beginning, I am greatly reducing my chances of anything positive.
The second item is from a blog that I go back to, but probably not enough.
I have come to believe that high stress, constant anxiety over tasks and work and life, social anxiety … is all a part of the modern way of life.
Most people just don’t feel a sense of peace, of calm, of serenity, throughout their day.
I have to admit that I’m the same way some of the time, but I have learned a few things that have helped me create a feeling of calmness much more of the time than ever before.
It’s a series of habits that have developed over the last few years. I’m not perfect at them, but I do practice them, and they are always helpful.
These are habits, not a one-time change in my surroundings or work pattern. Changing your environment is great, but you can’t control the things that happen to you much of the time, and you certainly can’t control how other people act. The only thing you can control is your response — and this response matters. You can respond to the same event with anxiety or anger, or you can respond with peace and calmness.
Let’s figure out how.
The Habits of Calmness
These are the habits to develop that will help you develop calmness (based on my experience):
A calm morning ritual. Many people rush through their mornings, starting the day out in a stressful rush. I wake up a little earlier (5 a.m. these days, though that changes), and start with a little meditation, then a few yoga poses. I then start writing, before I let the noise in. Exercise is another component of my morning routine. You don’t need to do the same things, but find the quiet of the morning and make the most of it.
Learn to watch your response. When something stressful happens, what is your response? Some people jump into action — though if the stressful situation is another person, sometimes action can be harmful. Others get angry, or overwhelmed. Still others start to feel sorry for themselves, and wish things were different. Why can’t other people behave better? Watch this response — it’s an important habit.
Don’t take things personally. Many times the response (that you noticed in Habit 2) is to take things personally. If someone does something we don’t like, often we tend to interpret this as a personal affront. Our kids don’t clean their rooms? They are defying us! Our spouse doesn’t show affection today? He/she must not care as much as he/she should! Someone acts rudely at work? How could they treat us this way?! Some people even think the universe is personally against them. But the truth is, it’s not personal — it’s the other person’s issue that they’re dealing with. They are doing the best they can. You can learn not to interpret events as a personal affront, and instead see it as some non-personal external event (like a leaf falling, a bird flying by) that you can either respond to without a stressful mindset, or not need to respond to at all.
Be grateful. Sure, lots of people talk about gratitude … but how often do we apply it to the events of our day? Things are crashing down at work, or our boss is angry, or our co-workers are rude, or our kids are misbehaving, or someone doesn’t love us as we’d like … do these cause anger/anxiety/unhappiness, or can we be grateful? Drop the complaints, and find a way to be grateful, no matter what. And then smile. This unbending habit can change your life.
Create stress coping habits. Many times, when we are faced with stress, we have unhealthy responses — anger, feeling overwhelmed and withdrawing, eating junk food, drinking alcohol or taking drugs, shopping or otherwise buying stuff, going to time-wasting sites, procrastinating, and so on. Instead, we need healthy ways to cope with stress, which will come inevitably. When you notice stress, watch how you cope with it, and then replace any unhealthy coping habits with healthier ones. Healthy stress coping habits include: drinking tea, exercise, yoga, meditation, massaging your own neck & shoulders, taking a walk, drinking some water, talking with someone you care about.
Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.
Reduce noise. Our lives are filled with all kinds of noise — visual clutter, notifications, social media, news, all the things we need to read. And truthfully, none of it is necessary. Reduce all these things and more, and create some space, some quiet, in your life.