Friday, November 18, 2005

True Til Death

In my last post I discussed issues of Boston media and Boston Hardcore. I was an avid fan and "member" of the "hardcore scene". But in the last four years or so have drifted to a much more varied taste in music. I haven't been to a hardcore show in years and rarely follow any new bands or goings on anymore. Since that article in last Sunday's Boston Globe however, i haven't been able to get enough of my old hardcore records and cds. It has been refreshing. While I have alot of 7 inches and LPs that i don't really care for, there are some songs and bands that have me feeling like I did when I was 17 and moshing all the time. I enjoy that I have a entirely seperate music collection that is very nostalgic for me. Some highlights

The Hope Conspiracy-
I saw this band at a BANE/In My Eyes show, one of the final IME shows, The Hope Con was just starting out and they just threw me against the proverbial wall. Deep guitars, heavy bass and crushing drums provide the backdrop to Baker's lyrics of desperation, hopelessness and betrayl. CRUCIAL!

BANE-
There have been bands in my life that have been THE BAND. BANE was that band for my first three years of college. Their first few seven inches are still some of the best hardcore ever made, ever. The many times i saw BANE still list as not only some of the best shows of my life, but some of the most fun times of my life, example- a kid doing a backflip off a baclony into the crowd during "Can We Start Again"

In My Eyes-
One of the best Straight Edge bands from the posi-core resurgence of the late 90's. Sweet Pete was the real deal as far as lyrics and stage presence go. I'm glad I saw as many times as I did before they succumbed to the standard two albums then break up hardcore formula.

Fastbreak-
I absolutley worshipped their first record, and absolutley hated their second,but the real treat was finding the 7 inch they did with ten yard fight. Fully forward thinking melodic hardcore that would be unbelievably popular now.

Those four bands combined with American Nightmare, Converge and Reach The Sky ( I still listen to those bands about once a month so they dont count for nostalgia) made up my listening habits for years. Its fun to get amped up on them again.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

8-13 years too late

This past sunday's Boston Globe ran an article that has been percolating in my head for a few days.( note: the globe requires registration and a fee to read this article, hence no link) The article described the success and popularity of Killswitch Engage, a popular aggressive band that has been termed by the Globe as "metalcore", in fact as innovators and leaders of "metalcore". I have two grievances with this article.
The first is that it is simply naive in 2005 to term a band as an innovator of metalcore. I have used that term since i became heavily involved in hardcore in the late 90's. The article praises Killswitch for bringing melodic vocals and screaming together, as well as playing what the lead singer called, " hardcore kids playing Swedish metal." In Boston we need to look no further than Converge and Cave In, as two bands that at least since 1996 have played that exact description of music, albeit not to the refined quality that Killswitch does. Labeling that band innovators discounts the bands that really took a leap and combined aspects of metal and applied them to hardcore, most siginificantly, i think, is Unbroken. They applied the heaviness and some of the riff sturcture of real metal and put it into hardcore anthems, in 1991 no less. There are myriad other bands, Trial, Botch, etc that are long gone but made what I and my friends,eight years ago, called metalcore.

The second issue I have with this article is that it is another example of New England media ignoring what was, is and will continue to be one of the largest hardcore scenes in the world right here in our own region. Starting in approximately 1999 and lasting until possibly 2003 the biggest names and bands in Hardcore came from MA and the surrounding region. Bands like Ten Yard Fight, In My Eyes, Bane, Reach The Sky, American Nightmare were not only hugely poplar nationally and internationally they also set trends for the larger hardcore scene in general. During that period those bands were the flagship bands for the largest independent hardcore labels in the world. Labels that have gone on to carry more indie rock or dare i say it emo/screamo bands, and those labels have made quite a bit of money. These Boston bands also took two bands, Thrice and My Chemical Romance, on tour with them. Thrice and MCR now are in the top 40 Billboard chart. Yet the media has never really taken any interest in the New England hardcore scene. It is just interesting to think about and it makes me a little upset that Killswitch Engage gets a front page A&E story on a Sunday and Bane propbably still tours in a van and makes no money.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Good Stuff For a Monday

It seems the motivation to blog only comes when I am substitute teaching, this is also true for learning Flash 8.

Amazon has its 100 best albums of 2005 listed, Sufjan is #1, whatever maybe I will come around some day, but M.I.A. is #2, I kind of feel like she should get #1 for creating a genre more or less, but what do I know. I saw this on Donewaiting which is rad

Also Pitchfork has a great piece on the worst album covers of all time. My favorite is the Young MC cover which really speaks volume with one image. I also like that they take aim at some pitchfork darlings.

Of Course

So Chuck Klosterman is now writing a monthly column on espn.com. In a way this was surprising, seeing Klostermans name on the sports monolith's website. Yet this is ESPN, who are beyond savvy in bringing in talent that will bring in new customers, and this is Chuck Klosterman who likes to get his name out there a bit. I like Chuck, when i pick up a SPIN, in airports or train stations, his work is really the only satisfying writing in there. To be honest I feel like SPIN is almost like People for those of us who listen to a more nuanced set of artists, haha. I used to enjoy espn.com , but now one must pay for nearly every article of substance and ESPN the network has lost me completely. I am a rabid baseball fan and I am finding a new fledgling relationship with the NBA, but that is where my sports interests ended, or so i thought. I am beyond fascinated with the business of sports and the role that espn now plays in it. That network shells out billions of dollars to host the NFL and has an even bigger stake in baseball starting next season. The business of sports is really like no other. The dirty laundry of contracts and trades and just plain old back stabbing and gossip are not only played out in public, but are broadcast across the globe over an over and over. So now when I find myself watching ESPN or travelling to their website, it is often just to see what hype is being perpetrated by THE MEDIA outlet of professional sports. They most assuredly have an agenda and its fun to decipher it. That was a bit of a tangent I suppose, but read Klosterman's article even if you don't like sports you will see something in there you recognize.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Grizzly Bear

I saw Grizzly Bear on halloween with The Mountain Goats. Grizzly Bear is being significantly hyped right now, and I am buying it. They are one of the few bands recently that I can listen to every song by over and over. Their set got better and better on each song and my friend and I spoke with one of the members briefly after the set. He was psyched that we were psyched on them. Good show great band. I look forward to their next steps and new songs.