Recent Entries

Gord Downie - My Thoughts On The Situation

Sorry I am not so current on this blog as I once was. All of that aside for the time being. I heard about Gord and his glioblastoma diagnosis this morning, directly after I learned that it is also Tommy Chong's 78th birthday today. Thunder officially stolen. Though the diagnosis was given back in December 2015, it had been kept private until this morning.

The Tragically Hip are one of the "bigger" Canadian bands that I have always had an amount of respect and admiration for, however it has simply never worked out that I had been able to see them perform live. I've had tickets - twice - both times I had to give them away because I was unable to get out of work. So to hear that there is a tour being organized ASAP is kind of bittersweet; there's no way I'm going to miss out this time around but it's going to be a hello and a farewell at the same time. Shit eh!

Gord Downie is an honest writer, and it is blatantly obvious to anyone who has heard The Hip. I have always admired that about him as a songwriter, especially when compared to other Canadian acts which hold the same stature as The Tragically Hip. Their music isn't pretentious; there isn't a ploy or an insult to the intelligence of the listener, but rather well thought out and honest works that transpire from paper to voice in the most real of ways. I think it is safe to say that Gord Downie is irreplaceable and invaluable to Canadian music as a whole, and it is terribly unfortunate to learn of his prognosis.

I truly hope to see The Hip on this upcoming tour, and I sincerely hope that it may not in fact be their last. They are touring to support their 13th studio album, "Man Machine Poem," which is to be released via Universal on June 17th. I just missed out on getting to see Spirit Of The West a few months ago as well, who have also been dealt devastating blows towards the health of some of their members.

I am hoping the tour goes well for the guys, I am excited to see when they will be playing here out west, and I hope all the best for Gord Downie and his health. Very sad news for sure.

(both photos kindly borrowed from http://www.thehip.com)

Review: Strung Out - Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Released on March 24th, 2015)

Strung Out are one of the bands that I can honestly say that I fell in love with at first listen. I remember hearing "Rotten Apple" on the 1996 Fat Wreck Chords compilation album "Survival Of The Fattest" and completely losing my mind. I couldn't believe how tight and fast they played, like this band was from another planet or something. Jason Cruz is an amazing vocalist and his performance on Transmission.Alpha.Delta is outstanding. Jordan Burns is also a drummer I've always admired, his fills are insane and he uses every available part of his kit, which I also like. Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos have such a powerful guitar sound together; so full sounding and just that perfect tone. Chris Aiken's bass is mixed amazingly on this album as well. I am a full blown bass addict and I love hearing that deep pounding bass in rock genres of music. Needless to say, this record will be in heavy rotation in my car for a long, long time.

Regardless of how familiar you may be with this band, but particularly for anyone who enjoys the melodic So-Cal style of playing, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection. A great listen all the way through, I can't find anything about this album that I don't like. I was fortunate enough to have seen Strung Out live twice, and hearing their great new music makes we want to run out and see them live again as soon as I get the chance. Grab this record and get in the know.

Purchase album here: http://www.fatwreck.com/record/detail/920
Official: http://www.strungout.com/
Fat Wreck Chords: http://www.fatwreck.com/

New Faith No More record coming in April 2015

I don't know about anyone reading this, but for me, hearing about a new FNM album (after the release of the single "Motherfucker" for black Friday, which also happens to be Record Store Day) was a major "HOLY SHIT!" moment. By a long shot. I have been a huge Faith No More fan ever since I first heard Epic, and the rest of "The Real Thing" when the album was released in 1989. 1992's "Angel Dust" was a life changer for me, still a favorite record to this day. And like many (some) other Faith No More fans, I of course did my research and discovered the insane plethora of material involving Mike Patton in some way, shape or form. It's insane how much talent one individual can have, the guy is an incredible musician in every sense of the word. Anyways, as far as I know right now, at the end of January, the title of the new album hasn't been released, but the release date is supposed to be April 15 2015, on the band's newly formed record label Reclamation Records, which is a subsidiary label of Ipecac Recordings. Here's a fun fact: Faith No More will be playing their Vancouver BC tour date on the release day of the yet untitled new album. Whether or not I will be able to go, I am unsure, but I know I would really like to see them live.

And that’s not all! There is also another single being released titled "Superhero" on March 15, which is a nice little bonus while we wait for the full length record. Hot Damn!

Faith No More
Ipecac Recordings

So, I've Been Away For A Little While...

Two major things happened at the beginning of July that had a major effect on my ability to properly ad to my blog. I got a camp job, so I am away for 8 days at a time. It's a really good gig but the internet connection out there isn't so awesome, and all my stuff for reference is on my computer at home, which is the source of the rest of my current blogability issues. My computer is in need of some parts, which I am patiently waiting for, but once I get a few things straightened out in there it should be business as usual. I got a few really great records sent to me over the summer from Asher Media, I told him my situation and to bare with me, so hopefully I've still got that connection when things get normal again.

On a side note, I am really looking forward to getting my hands on the new Copyrights album "Report," the few songs I have heard from it are really really good, I just know that whole album probably kicks ass. I'm also looking forward to the new records on the way from Lagwagon AND Swingin' Utters, but even more than that, I am looking really forward to seeing them play together in Seattle in November! I got a couple of tickets for the wife and I, and neither of us have been to Seattle before, so it's going to be a pretty fun trip for sure. We're also excited to take advantage of Washington's recent law changes, perhaps a fun little taste of what is yet to come for BC as soon as this province pulls it's head out of its ass as legalizes. Marc Emery is a free man once again, so you know for damn sure the ball is already rolling on that!

So anyways, just a little update; I haven't gone anywhere and the blog is not dead, just suffering from some prolonged technical difficulties. Don't forget to follow me (counterculturenerd) on Instagram! I have a Twitter too but I never, ever use it, so don't worry about it. Stay baked!

Review: Expain - Just The Tip (Out on June 24, 2014)

Expain (formally known as "The Almighty Excruciating Pain") hail from Vancouver BC, which made a lot of sense to me as I have found their brand of humour to have a familiar overtone. It's always nice to hear some high quality shreds originating out here on the west coast. As per usual, I tend to notice the drumming right away, and Expain certainly has the right guy for the job. What a powerhouse!! Speaking of which, it is worth mentioning that this band was formed exclusively with the help of Craigslist, boy technology can do swell things sometimes.

Aside from the obvious that these guys shred like hell, it's cool to hear metal being jazzed out a little bit; I'm a huge music nerd so I'm into that sort of thing. I remember the first time I heard Sleep Terror, there's a lot of that cool jazziness in there too, it blew my mind to hear how well these totally different musical elements can actually work together. So that's pretty cool. It's awesome to see musicians who utilize as much of their playability and influences together in a cohesive delivery, I think that very few bands can truthfully stake that claim. Expain are self releasing Just The Tip on June 24, so make sure you rip over to Bandcamp, iTunes or CD Baby to get your hands on your copy! It's always commendable to see a band self releasing their own albums, which I know from experience is not an easy (or cheap!) task to undertake. Show this band some love, these guys are going hard and kicking ass!

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Review: Hollow - Mordrake (Out on May 30, 2014)

Hollow are a blackened death metal band from Montreal, QC. This album is the band's second release; a follow up to their 2010 Cynoptic Eschaton EP. At first listen, I knew this band was a step ahead of the pack. These guys are tight as hell, and create an intense atmosphere with their brutal approach to metal. It is especially worth noting that the drums on this album were recorded WITHOUT the use of triggers; which not only ads to the overall black metal feel, but is a commendable nod to the old school way of doing things. There was also no use of midi, or any cut/paste editing. This is a true rarity in this day and age of recording! I'm a big fan of the heavy low end of the overall mix too, but I just have a thing for big thick bass, it just makes for such a full, rounded sound. For only having one guitarist, they've certainly got the right one - this dude shreds!!! Hot damn. And of course, as for vocal delivery, you get it all on this album. Nice high black metal-eque screaming, demonic harmonies, and intense gutteral death metal growls.

All of these guys are above average musicians on their own, which is blatantly evident when listening to them play as a band. I would jump at the opportunity to see Hollow play live, and if they're coming to play near you, I advise you do the same. But more importantly, if you're a black metal fan, get yourself a copy of Mardrake when it comes out on May 30th! Big thanks to Asher Media for sending this one my way, you rock dude!

"Landscape" official video

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Review: Psychotic Gardening - Hymnosis (Out on May 13, 2014)

Psychotic Gardening are a metal band from Winnipeg, MB. This album has a Death cover on it (Open Casket), which is a bonus right off the bat. I like the rough sound to this album, it's not completely clean and polished but I don't think it would be quite the same if it were. The mix fits the music really well. I'd call this traditional/old school metal revival with a touch of black metal, if I had to pin a label on it. You can hear the old school death metal influence for sure, these guys kind of remind me of my old band Deadkind just a little bit in that respect. It's refreshing to hear a metal band going against the grain like that. I really like the vocal delivery in this band as well.

Hymnosis is the third album from Psychotic Gardening, follwed by 2011's Humanitorium and the 2007debut Hurdur. The more of this record I listen to, the more I dig it for sure. Hymnosis starts off well, don't get me wrong, but this record is a creeper for sure; it grows on you more and more the further in you listen. I like that, some of my favorite records kind of have the same effect. Very cool arrangement, and a unique overall sound as well. I can hear the influences in the music, but this band doesn't straight up remind me of any other bands on the first spin, which is pretty hard to find these days. If you're into that old school feel, you don't want to miss out on this release. Be sure to check out Psychotic Gardening ASAP!

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Twitter: @PsychoticGarden
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Indie Pool

Review: Dark Century - Murder Motel (Out on April 18, 2014)

Dark Century is yet another metal powerhouse from Montreal, QC. Right away, on the very first track, I found that the overall sound of the band reminded me a little bit of Yyrkoon, which is awesome. By that I mean the tone of the instruments; the overall mix of this album sounds very similar to the overall mix of the last two Yyrkoon records. It's such a great mix for this kind of music, I'm not sure what exactly makes such a sound, if it's in the mastering or the gear the guys are playing or what, but holy hell does it ever sound good. What a good sounding record!

Before this was sent to me by Jon Asher I had not heard of this band, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Murder Motel. The vocal delivery here is astounding, this dude has quite the set of pipes going on. Also, pay attention to those drums - what a great drummer. I can't wait to rip this one in the car, I can tell from the first listen through that this is going to pound the living shit out of my poor Malibu.

If you're at all into death metal, thrash metal, and grindcore, you'll be pleased with this seamless blend of aggression. This record is likely to scare the shit out of your neighbors and other drivers around you at red lights. I am very curious to hear Dark Century's other album, 2009's debut "Days Of The Mosh." As someone who was in a metal band that self-released our own EP, I have much respect for other bands doing the same. Definitely check this band out!

"Kill The Crowd" Video on YouTube

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Twitter: @DarkCenturyBand
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R.I.P. David Brockie, aka Oderus Urungus, Aug. 30, 1963 - Mar. 23, 2014

I don't even really know what to say about the passing of Dave Brockie, I was just listening to Battle Maximus the other day, thinking how rad it would be to see Gwar again. I've been a Gwar fan since I first discovered the band in 1990; as a super hyperactive ADHD kid with an attention span of about 8 seconds, Gwar was one of the most hilarious and awesome things I'd even seen at that time in my life. I knew the very first time I saw them on TV that I would one day see them live and get that crazy shit sprayed all over me. Man, I can't believe he died! A world without Gwar, how strange it seems. On a side note, it is a surprisingly little known fact that Dave was born in Ottawa, ON, another fine example of an exceedingly great Canadian musician.

I was only able to see Gwar live once, in Toronto ON at the Kool Haus on the Bam Margera Viva La Bands tour in 2006, with Cradle Of Filth and CKY. At the time I bought tickets, I was working at a make-up manufacturing plant, and had alread given my notice that I would be quitting. On my last shift, two or three days before the show, I took one of the white lab coats home with me to wear at the show. It got completely covered in Gwar juice, most predominantly the spray from Oderus's Cuttle Fish, which got me from head to toe and stained the shit out of that lab coat while I was crowd surfing. I still have the coat, I've even used it in a Halloween costume since then. The colour of the Gwar stain has faded considerably but it still totally visible, as my intention was to not wash the Gwar off but instead preserve the memory of such a fun show. I'm super glad I did! Rest in peace Dave, and thanks for the fun times and all the crazy tunes.

Oderus Urungus on Widipedia
Dave Brockie's website (likely to go offline sooner than later)
Gwar official website

Remembering Vitek of Decapitated

Today when I was driving to work, I stumbled across an old song from the Polish death metal band Decapitated, and the strangest thing happened to me, I just started tripping out on Vitek (Decapitated's original drummer, deceaced 2007), and just how sad it is what happened to those guys. For those who don't know much or anything about this band or the incident I am referring to, I'll tell the story here real quick.

Decapitated are, as I mentioned, a technical death metal band who are from Poland. They started playing together as a band in 1996, when the original four members where 12, 13, 15, and 16. By 1998 they had three self-released demos that were good enough to attract attention from Earache Records subsidary label Wicked World, to which the band signed and released their debut Winds Of Creation in 2000. Witold "Vitek" Kieltyka, the band's drummer, was the youngest of the group and was 15 by the time they recorded Winds. Jumping ahead a little bit, the band released their fourth record in 2006, Organic Hallucinosis, and were touring to support the album. On October 28, 2007, on route to Belarus from Russia, their tour bus was in an accident with a "large truck carrying a sizable load of wood," resulting in the death of Vitek a few days later on November 2. He was 23 years old when he passed away. Adrian "Covan" Kowanek, who replaced original vocalist Wojciech "Sauron" Wasowicz during the writing stages of Organic Hallucinosis, was also severly injured in the accident, and is still to this day in a coma. Unbelievably, through all the devestating loss, the band still carries on, though only with one original member left, Vitek's older brother Waclaw "Vogg" Kieltyka. Vogg has been cheif songwriter for Decapitated since the beginning, resulting in a consistant overall sound to the band throughout the line-up changes that have occured since 2005.

So anyway, the point I'm really getting at here is that Vitek was by far (by FAR) one of the best drummers in the world - regardless of genre. This kid was gifted in a way that completely dwarves the abilities of literally all other drummers. I just can't say enough about him as a drummer; he was such a heavy hitter and played so precisely and clean, and he came up with such intense beat patterns that are so far out of the box, everything the guy played just made we wish that I thought of it first, you know? There are a lot of really amazing drummers out there on the go today, but Vitek was a level ahead of everyone else. I often wonder how that band would have progressed had that accident never occured, if the Organic Hallucinosis line-up made it to Belarus that night and the rest of the tour went the way it was planned. It's such a tragedy, such a huge loss to the music community as a whole.

That's pretty much it I guess, it just sort of struck me out of the blue how sad it really is what happened to those guys. I wonder if Covan will ever wake up. Pretty much everything they've done as a band is amazing, but if I had to suggest a couple of songs as an example of how insanely great Vitek was at his craft, these would be them. The video for Day 69 is also interesting in this regard because Vitek is also the main "actor" in the video as well.

Day 69
Post Organic
Three Dimensional Defect
The Empty Throne
Babylon's Pride

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