Sunday, March 29, 2009

Capone-N-Noreaga - The War Report

The other day I watched a portion of VH1's Greatest 100 Hip-Hop songs of All Time on VH1 Soul. While I think those shows are interesting to watch, they are extremely narrow in their level coverage. The hard rock/metal countdown seemed short sided to me, but this one was even more incomplete. It just seems unbelievable to me that music journalists specializing in rap music along with a panel of rappers, producers and DJ's would exclude so many important and influential MC's in favor of pop songs like Nelly's "Hot in Here" and MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This." C'mon, no Gang Starr? No Mobb Deep? No Pharcyde? Souls of Mischief/Del/Hieroglyphics? Big L? KRS-ONE? Kool Keith? Even "The Bridge is Over" didn't make the list. It was thoroughly disappointing.

So, on that same note of classic rap, I have to mention the debut by Queens, New York's Capone-N-Noreaga. The War Report is a perfect example of grimy post-golden age era hip-hop - Hard beats, gritty lyrics about crime, drugs and the hood, referring to their housing projects as "Iraq," the continuous use of the instigating phrase "What What," and various other things suburban nerds like me have no real comprehension of. At 20 tracks The War Report drags at times, but there are some definite bangers on here such as "Bloody Money," "LA, LA," "Halfway Thugs," and "Illegal Life." For more insight into the mind of NORE check the links below:

Cocaine Blunts Interview

Noreaga's Twitter

Capone-N-Noreaga - The War Report

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fireworks - We walk the Streets at Night

Since their debut LP All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion comes out today, I thought I'd share a
semi-rare piece of Fireworks history.

A few years ago for Halloween they went and recorded four The Misfits covers to celebrate the holiday. Some people don't seem to be into their take on these classic songs, but I think they did a solid job. They always make covers their own with deviating too far off the path of the original structure. Obviously, nothing will compare to The Misfits, but I think these are definitely worth having if you're into Fireworks.

Fireworks - We Walk the Streets at Night

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Convicted - Demo 2009

My friends in Convicted recently recorded a new set of demos with Andy at Bricktop Recording. Admittedly, I always felt underwhelmed in regard to Convicted's recorded material, but I think the two new songs here and the re-recording of "Cages" sound great and far more representative of the band in a live setting - really heavy, fast, and intense. Check it out if you're into heavy hardcore similar to Turmoil, Buried Alive and other good bands.

Convicted - Demo 2009

Convicted on MySpace

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seam - The Pace is Glacial

This was another record purchased on a whim sometime in high school. The main selling point was the $2 price tag it boasted in the discount bin at Bizzy Bee in Naperville, IL, where I purchased records during my formative years. I had only heard of Seam through the fliers that covered my bedroom walls at my parents house, but I knew they were an indie rock band on Touch & Go Records and that was enough for me. I listened to this record constantly, finding more and more things to love about it. The laid back, almost bouncy riffs, singer Sooyoung Park's breathy, hushed vocals and the simple leads that often get stuck in my head the way vocal melodies normally would. Seam only really seems to get their due within a certain, select facet of the indie rock community, but The Pace is Glacial (along with the rest of their discography) is essential listening for the genre.

A few years ago Touch & Go celebrated their 25th anniversary and Seam reunited to play on the final day of the weekend. It was a rainy, grey fall afternoon and by that point in the day the numbers dwindled because of the weather and the previous two days of shows, but Seam was great. They played almost everything I wanted to hear and they looked like they were having a great time. It was absolutely worth getting rained on and possibly the perfect accompaniment to their song selection.

Seam - The Pace is Glacial

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Right Brigade - S/T

During my senior year of high school my friend Joe took me to the now defunct Reckless Records location in Evanston. I went actively searching for a copy of Chain of Strength's The One Thing That Still Holds True, but also picked up the Right Brigade EP on a whim. The summer after high school my friend Matt and I took a trip to the east coast to attend Hellfest in Syracuse and visit some friends in Boston. We listened to this EP a lot during that week and since then it has secured a spot in my Top 5 hardcore records of the past 10 years.

Right Brigade didn't really seem like anything out of the ordinary to me upon first listen, but it became clear after repeated listening that they were everything a good hardcore band should be - fast, angry and have breaks so hard they make me want to get in random, unnecessary fights on the street. They were a fairly short lived band and only released a demo, this 7", a split with A Poor Excuse and an ill-fated LP on Revelation. However, in the few years after their break-up it became apparent just how influential they were. So many bands bit them left and right, especially in the early part of the decade - Frostbite, Outbreak, Murder Weapon, even early American Nightmare had some tinges of what Right Brigade were doing. Ultimately, they were just a solid hardcore band and if the 7 songs on this EP weren't enough, check the video for further proof - front flips, stage moshing, a good Agnostic Front reference and double handed mic grips. So hard.

Right Brigade - S/T