Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bridge & Tunnel @ Generation Records

The increasingly great (and my number 5 LP of the year!) Bridge & Tunnel will be making a special appearance at Generation Records in Greenwich Village next month. Generation shows are always awesome and special in some way, even when they get absurdly cramped and you can't see much (anybody catch the Fucked Up show there?). Cheeky will be opening the show which kicks off at 8pm on Wednesday Jan 28th. Free as long as you bring a can of food to donate (bring more than one if you're awesome).

Can't make this? Bridge & Tunnel will also be performing a month
later on Feb 28th at Matchless in scenic Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Cheap Pabst, Bridge & Tunnel and a 5 minute walk home? You bet I'll be there.

January 28th at Generation Records
210 Thompson Street
Greenwich Village, NYC
trains to West 4th St Station

February 28th at Bar Matchless
Manhattan Ave & Driggs Ave
Greenpoint, Brooklyn
train to Nassua Ave
train to Bedford Ave

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Top Ten Records of 08

Everyone loves to read end of the year top ten lists. And everyone loves to make end of year top ten lists and push their personal opinions upon others. So here we go, my Top Ten Records of 2008. My list is better than your list.

H2O - Nothing To Prove
Bridge 9 Records

It was 7 years since the last new H2O record. Usually that amount of time between records causes people to forget about a band. But those kindsa people probably don't listen to bands like H20. No biggy, more for me. H2O returns as family men who are taking a look at the new state of "punk" bands, and they don't like it too much. Choice tracks like "Nothing To Prove" and "What Happened?" show that H2O hasn't forgotten who they are, but they kinda want to know: who the hell are you?

This Is Hell - Misfortunes
Trustkill Records

On their second LP, This Is Hell stepped further into their shoes and goes for a little run. Distancing themselves a bit from American Nightmare stylings of
Sundowning and drawing more metal influences, they've gifted us with a new, raw and refreshing hardcore album that's been a regular staple in my rotations this year.

United Nations - United Nations
Eyeball Records

The hype and salivations by the masses for United Nations, a screamo supergroup has subsided. Everyone's gotten all their "best. album. ever.", "i dont get it" and "it just sounds like shitty Orchid" out of their systems, so maybe now we can just enjoy this record for what it is. I won't lie at first the hype almost turned me off to enjoying the band, but it's kinda just not possible. The album shreds, shreds real hard. Now if only Eyeball Records would send me the fucking vinyl copy I ordered almost two months ago and claims shipped. Seriously, I'm really pissed and if anyone knows someone at Eyeball, tell them to watch their backs.

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
SideOneDummy Records

The New Jersey success story of the year. Been a while since we had one of them hasn't it? Comprised of a strong match of NJ punk scene veterans, The Gaslight Anthem have been slowly but surely turning heads over the past few years since their first LP
Sink or Swim came out guns blazing with a raw Social D meets Hot Water Music style. With The '59 Sound the guys turn down the distortion and roll their packs of smokes into their t shirt sleeves. This time it's all about the stories in the songs and polaroids you could imagine them being documented on. If Bruce Springsteen were to go punk, it'd sound like this.

Thursday/Envy Split LP
Temporary Residence LTD

I was one of the few who were not disappointed in Thursday's
A City By The Light Divided but I do this weird thing where I listen to bands I already know with an open mind and an understanding of them wanted to try new things. Crazy I know. Free from their contract with Island, Thursday really shows a return to form with some of their most creative material yet, including two instrumental tracks. Imagine Explosions In The Sky if they were a heavy band. Envy as always does not disappoint either with texture rich songs that make you wonder so much what they're singing about (cause its in Japanese). Releasing it only on vinyl? Also a glorious idea.

Bridge & Tunnel - East/West
No Idea Records

I first heard Bridge & Tunnel a while back at my favorite bar Lost & Found (RIP) here in lovely Greenpoint Brooklyn. Normally I get kinda pissed when there's an unexpected show at L&F cause one of the bar's main draws in the relatively low music levels and never-packed-ness. But this time I figured whatever, a buncha friends are already here and I'm about 5 Miller High Life's deep, go with it. Bridge & Tunnel struck my attention right away. I felt as if they were reviving something, but I wasn't sure what. They reminded me of You & I expect not really at all. Cursive? Kinda. Hot Water Music? A bit. Regardless I was in love and bought their 7" on the spot. This summer they followed up with East/West and it picks up right where the 7" teased at. Dynamic guitars, split male/female lead vocals and observational songs about life in general. Get this record. And their 7". And their split with Young Livers.

Chuck Ragan & Austin Lucas - Bristle Ridge
Ten Four Records

Ever since starting his own solo career, Chuck Ragan really has not slowed down one bit. From the 7" club releases with No Idea, one live LP, one studio LP and countless other 7" singles and splits it seems that if Chuck writes a song, he's gonna release it. This has got to be his most ambitious effort yet. Teaming up with natural born folk singer Austin Lucas they crafted some of both's finest songs yet. From rootsy bluegrass and folk to striped ballads and nonholy gospel, Ragan and Lucas riffle through their own songs, collaborations and some old standards and present them in a way only these two could together. Also featuring Chuck Ragan live show staples Digger Barnes and Jon Gaunt, and Austin's father Bob Lucas, who recorded the record in his rural Indiana home. It really doesn't matter what your music of preference is, you will love this record.

Fucked Up - The Chemistry Of Common Life
Matador Records

Ah, Fucked Up. What will you do next. Never a band to take kindly to restrictions or boundaries many tend to place on hardcore music (I can barely even consider them a hardcore band), Fucked Up is at it again. Opening the record with a lone flute, it eventually unfolds into everything you love about Fucked Up. Songs of epic length and sonic mindfucks. Bizarre instrumentions dance around power chord heavy rhythm sections and Damien's signature growl on an even more ambitious effort than
Hidden World, as if that were possible. See them next month in Brooklyn. It won't be another 12 hour show, but it'll be one to remember.

Off With Their Heads - From The Bottom
No Idea Records

Something's got to really suck in this dude's life to sing the things he sings. I'd cite something specific but really, just listen and you'll see what I mean. Seriously, like I really hope playing the songs and touring is theraputic for him. Regardless, Off With Their Heads play the kind of gritty punk rock that is catchy as hell but doesn't compromise any substance. The vocals are harsh and gravely (a friend equated it to a drunk pirate) and really aren't for everyone. But if it is for you, odds are you already love the band. This record really resonates with all the energy and dont-give-a-fuck attitude that makes bands like this so great. They're on tour for the rest of their lives, so if they come through town definitely make it a point to see them, buy all their LPs, 7"s and a shirt. They deserve your love, and Taco Bell.

Dillinger Four - C I V I L W A R
Fat Wreck Chords

Here it is folks, my favorite album of the year. This prestigeous honor goes to another band who's been taking their sweet ass time releasing a new record. Dillinger Four decided to make us wait 6 years since they released
Situationist Comedy to grace us with another release. And well, it was goddamn worth it. This record is infectuous. Nothing new or ground breaking. No experimentation from D4. Nothing to validate the 6 year gap in records. But fuck it, this is all you need. Dillinger Four doing what they do best. Drinking beer and playing energetic four chord punk songs with absurd titles about pop culture and Jesus. And when they come through on tour you're gonna do what you're obligated to do as an American with civil duties, get drunk and go have an awesome time at the show. Get this record and all their others, it might make you a good person.

I have returned

Well it's been a good three months or so since my last post. Sounds about right. Write for a few weeks, then disappear. Write another few weeks, disappear. Rinse, repeat. I'm going to try to stay more active here and also invite contributions from anyone else interested in yammering about things relating to non shitty music and cool stuff going on around Brooklyn.

I think to close out 2008 I'll opt for posting a top ten list of year. Maybe a few of them. Definitely a top 10 records of the year. Maybe top 10 bars? Top 10 shows? Did I even go to 1o shows this year? We'll see. You'll see.