Archive for November, 2010

I ordered this album from a mailorder called Rhetoric Records sometime around ’97 or ’98. I heard a song on a mixed tape and instantly liked them. For those not in the know, Walker hailed from the Midwest of the USA; Indiana to be more specific, and they played some of the catchiest pop / punk tunes I had ever heard. It was quite ingenius. Sure, pop / punk was the ‘in’ thing back then and pretty much the influx of bands doing it was over the top but these guys had something else. Something about their song writing just grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. And today I played this record again and it still amazes me. 12 years on, I am still playing this record and loving every minute of it. That’s a good feat for a band who were very little known. In fact, I can’t even find a single youtube clip of them. Surely someone must have some live footage of these guys somewhere that us who never got to witness them since we were geographically challenged can experience something… anything?

There’s not a lot of information on this band which is kinda sad to know. This album was released on a small Chicago label called Harmless Records. They’re probably now defunct but I sure hope the rumoured remixed double CD anthology gets released and these tracks can be put to the world again and hopefully will not be overlooked a second time around. I also still have my classic Walker t-shirt that I still wear. It has a dude carrying an amp on his back and it says “Borrowing Equipment Since 1993.” Actually, I don’t wear it that much cos it’s an XL and I wear medium’s now. Need to take this thing in. Any sewing people out there? Anyway, wow, how time flies by. But yeah, Walker. They have a full discography lsted on the band’s Myspace page which if you are at all interested in seeing what you can find, you can check it all out there. This page also delves into what the band members are doing now.

The album itself has 12 tracks of melodic punk rock bliss that includes a cover of Petrograd which was originally performed by Cringer (Lance, R.I.P.), some really moving lyrics and some kick ass dual vocal harmonies and guitar licks. It’s sugar sweet stuff! If you like melodic pop / punk, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t dig this band. This album still rates highly as one of my faves. Stand out tracks can all be heard below. Why? Cos I’m nice and uploaded these tracks for your listening pleasure. Now, do yourself a favour and hunt this down. Look for it on eBay. Collect the singles too!

And Walker dudes, if you are reading this, thankyou so much for this record. At a time when I was getting bored with the whole pop / punk thing, you guys delivered a pearler. Heaps good!

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I was asked to write an article for this zine and writing about the issues particular subject matter was a bit daunting and hard for me. Anyway, I wrote an article about my dealings with douchebags in Detroit. But that’s not why I am reviewing this cos there’s a bunch of other pages besides the 3 I was given. DOAS is a new zine from a bunch of girls in Melbourne. I always get pre-determined thoughts when I hear about a new zine being written. Basically, I have been involved in the zine game for over 15 years now (I aint bragging, just giving you a timeline of how I see things) and the one thing I really hate the most about zines is the politics involved. I aint talking about Labor vs Liberal politics. I am talking about some sort of Zine etiquette. You know, like things should be and look a certain way, etc. Cos to me, Zines should be all about free expression. Which is ironic for me to say, cos anyone who knows me personally knows that I fucking HATE poetry zines. Those crappy rags should be used as toilet paper or thrown in the fire. Really. I hate them. I just think they’re a bunch of arty wank and they remind me of some Jim Morrison styled bullshit and I always hated The Doors. Hate me all you want but honesty is my only excuse. I can’t like everything.

ANYWAY, DOAS is a zine that has a particular subject per issue and then a bunch of different people write about it; as in the case here, the subject was BOYS. And yes, there is some, not a lot, but some poetry in here. I skipped that. But there’s some great stuff in here to have a gander at. Matt Ford from Nerf Jihad zine (which is one of my favourite zines on the market) contributes another funny piece. That dude always makes me laugh. His writing is genius. Most of the articles in here are serious pieces or stories. Personally, I like the stuff that made me laugh, whether intentionally or not, cos, well, I like humour. There’s too much seriousness in the world and laughing is something we could all enjoy in times like these. Or something. I had to vote today; probably not the right day to write a review but I digress.

All up, this zine is well produced, it’s slick, spinebound (no staples here), the print is digital Xerox and the whole thing looks quite sweet. It’s a big deal. Most of the writing featured is of good quality; like the writers contained within probably all went to University and passed (unlike me) so their writing no doubt holds more weight than my anti-douchebag piece. Regardless, DOAS, is a new zine (they call it a Zournal, like a Zine and a Journal together) for your reading pleasure. I was glad to be asked to be a part of such a zine. It looks cool as and I hope it’s around for a while cos in a day and age when zines are dying, it’s good to see someone out there going the whole deal and rockin’ it. Yep.

Write to them at: deathofascenester@gmail.com or visit them online at www.deathofascenester.com.au and they can give you the scoop on prices, places and whatever else. Sweetness!

It’d be hard to find fault with any CD that displays the torso of a hot babe covered in blood, wielding a chainsaw, on the cover. I mean, really, that’s kind of like a winning formula in my book. I could go with not even hearing the actual CD and just displaying this cover on my mantle piece for all to see but my curious mind had me spinning this 5 tracker within seconds of getting this home after just seeing the band tear up the stage here in Melbourne.

You see, the Chainsaw Hookers hail from Perth; the home of a Bon Scott statue and a gazillion hot women. Is it any wonder they sound the way they do? Ballsy, heavy, hard and fast! Basing their songs and whole schtick on horror movies, these guys deliver 5 tracks of motor punk ala Zeke, Speedealer, The Nerds, The Hookers, etc. and they shred like fuck. Their knowledge of movies is as prominent as their love for punk rock. Songs about Snakes On A Plane (“Ride The Venom”), An American Werewolf in London (“Nazi Werewolf”), “Christine” (one of my personal favourite horror films of all time – a kickass car and soundtrack and Buddy Repperton slices open Arnie Cunningham’s lunch with a switchblade), “Black Christmas” (self explanatory) and Friday The 13th (“Death Curse”). Plus, they took their band name from a movie starring the hottest B-Movie actress of all time, Michelle Bauer. I could watch her wield a chainsaw all day slicing up dudes as she listens to Elvis but alas, there are reviews to write. Like this one. So I really should get back to it. So where was I? Oh yeah, the production sounds slick and doesn’t lack any guts or brutality. It’s chock full of wailing solos, butchered vocals and pounding drums. In other words, what I’m trying to say is, it’s pretty awesome. Did I mention the cover art has a hot babe covered in blood holding a chainsaw? Well it’s worth mentioning twice.

I dunno how long these cats have been around but they’re here and they’re worth your time if you’re a fan of good ole fashioned punk rock or dig horror films. Both thumbs are up; one for the punk rock and one for the horror films. Yeah! Dig it!

Today was a long day. After working 8 hours straight at my crappy job, I headed to the Espy to conduct an interview with Baroness vocalist and guitarist, John Dyer Baizley (which you will be able to read on this site very soon). After that was done, I headed to Albert Park and played some golf with Willie from the band Lamb Of God. How do these things happen? Who the fuck knows but it’s times like these I actually like my life. Outside of doing anything to do with music, I pretty much think my life is complete shit. But lets not get all emo now, this is about Baroness, not me.

After heading home to collect the car, I headed back to the Espy to see Baroness play one of their sideshows to their Metallica support (get there early otherwise you will miss them as they are on when doors open at 7pm). They got 2 shows left from this Metallica tour but this one, this was their show. No half hour set, no playing to a half empty arena, this was their time and dude, did they make sure that it was.

I arrived in time to see half of Akaname’s set as they played to a packed solid venue. These guys play heavy instrumental stuff kinda like Pelican meets Keelhaul. Very cool. Great riffs and a huge sound. They have a self-released, self-titled album out now. Grab yourself a copy. Akaname went down a storm. Great stuff! I was unsure just how many people ‘get’ the whole deal with Baroness but it appears there’s a shitload more now than there was when I saw them at the Corner Hotel earlier this year when they shared the stage with ISIS. Excellent!

Baroness came on at 11:15 and within minutes they tore the stage apart. Pulling tracks from every release (bar the split with Unpersons), they delivered. Bigtime. And the best thing, you could tell these guys loved every minute of it. They gave it 110%. You couldn’t have not been impressed by the high energy coming off that stage tonight. I mean, really, this was something else. These guys have grown in leaps and bounds since their last visit here and it appears no one left unimpressed. How could you be? These guys have the songs, they just need to deliver them in the best way possible… which they did… and then some. There’s a place in everyone’s life for Baroness and if they didn’t win you over this time then you’re either boring or you don’t listen to music, you just hear it and that’s your loss.

Baroness have proven themselves to be a major player with the big boys and to be honest, those guys at the top, they better watch out cos this band is gonna show ya whose boss… unintentionally too. That’s just the kinda band they are. They aren’t out to be better, they just love playing music and it just so happens that they damn well are better than most of the crap that is being branded as ‘heavy’ these days. Well played. If you were there, well, you were there. If you weren’t, you either had a neck injury or were just not awesome enough. Sorry. Better luck next time, eh?

Baroness’ latest epic, “Blue Record” is out now on Relapse / Riot!

 

www.relapse.com
www.riotact.com.au
www.yourbaroness.com
www.akaname.net

Back in 1990, myself and 2 friends, Ben and Darren, were at my house one Friday night eating pizza, talkin’ shit, listening to records, etc. and we were in the kitchen and suddenly noticed there was a spider crawling on the kitchen lightshade. I searched everywhere for some insect spray but we were all out. We did have Exit Mould though so we used that. We sprayed the spider over and over. We didn’t have anything to put it in so we used a biscuit jar and the spider fell into that and we took it outside and either let it go or stomped on it. I can’t remember. Either way, we were laughing hysterically and decided to start a band that night. My drums were usually set-up in the loungeroom for rehearsals anyway so Darren got his guitar, Ben grabbed some paper and a pen and we started writing songs. Within minutes (yeah, seriously, minutes!) we had tons of songs written. We decided to actually do something with this and began rehearsing regularly. Before long we were playing live gigs at backyard parties and venues. It was on and happening.

Soon after we entered the recording studios to lay down tracks for our first demo tape, “Alligators Are Scary”. This demo tape featured 17 tracks of metal punk hardcore rock with no bass guitar; just vocals, guitar and drums. It’s not a bad effort and cost us all up about $150 for the whole day. Recording this demo, half way through the drum levels being set-up, a priest barged into the studio demanding that we stop immediately. He advised us he was trying to conduct a service at the church next door and the drums were going through the airconditioning vents and into the church. We decided to name this priest Father Dowling and wrote a song about this incident right there on the spot. The engineer seemed amazed at how quickly we could put a song together and told us this story about a guy outside a pub during the Grand Prix who repeatedly told people about the $1 beers that the pub was selling at the time. This story made us laugh and an extra song, aptly titled “$1 beers!” was added to the demo. Hey, we moved fast!

“Alligators Are Scary” also included the infamous song, “Heaps Of Giveaways” which was a tribute to the local radio 5MMM (Now 3D Radio) heavy metal show host, Lewi Young, whose catch phrase on air was, funnily enough, ‘heaps of giveaways’. This song got the band much notoriety and the song became one of the most played songs on the radio at the time. This was the first time I had ever gotten into my car, turned on the radio and heard a song by my own band being played on the radio. Was a pretty good feeling for a 17 year old kid.

After the demo was recorded, we took advantage of our school’s media studies equipment and decided to make a music video for one of the songs on the demo titled “Musashi (Strongest Man in the Universe)”. I still remember how this song came about. The 3 of us were watching the olympics on TV one weekend and the weightlifting came on. This guy came up to the weights to begin his lift. Behind him, a huge banner saying Musashi. He picked up the weights, got them about 10cms off the canvas, dropped them and stormed off. We started laughing, Ben put pen to paper and the songs was born. This here is the video to Musashi, filmed at Salisbury East High School which is where the 3 of us attended our studies.

One night we were out riding our BMX bikes across the road in the carpark of the local radio station and we were on a BMX Bandits trip. We had been watching the movie and, like everything else we found amusing, another song was born. We filmed a bunch of us doing some hardcore BMX stunts and the results of both the song and video can be found here in our tune, “BMX Bandits”.

The band played a new years eve show in 1991 at the Tivoli Hotel and after the show was over, we were told that we weren’t going to be paid because we didn’t have a bass player therefore we were not a serious band. True story. We seemed stumped by this and after being paid $20 because we demanded something, we decided we should get a bass player. We recruited my brother, Jut, and went back into the studio to record another demo titled “Maurice’s Steak & Waffle”. This demo had a total of 12 tracks and had a much heavier sound. Songs ranging from topics to do with TAB (the drink – just one calorie), flatulence, DRI fans in Portugal who listen to the trash, and a re-recorded version of Heaps Of Giveaways, the demo was not as well received but still deemed a classic by the 10 people who heard it. “Maurice’s Steak & Waffle” also included covers of a Coca-Cola advert, the Zit Remedy, and Nena’s “99 Luft Balloons”. Sounds ridiculous? It was. Someday both of these demos may re-surface for your listening pleasure. One video from “Maurice’s Steak & Waffle” was made for the song Heller.

A 3rd and final demo, a cabaret demo of 4 songs was recorded and never officially released. This featured songs about Manna (a person who went into the jungle and never came out) and other such ridiculous soul-soothers. This also started the end of an era and Spiders In The Biscuit Jar soon disbanded. Sad but true.

The band:
Ben Reichman – Vocals, Piano
Darren Borrowdale – Guitar
Damo – Drums, Backing Vocals
Jut – Bass

Discography:
Alligators Are Scary (1991)
Maurcie’s Steak & Waffle (1992)
The Cabaret Demo (1992)

Both Alligators Are Scary and Maurice’s Steak & Waffle can be downloaded for free from the band’s bandcamp page.