Friday, November 25, 2011

Never Mind Cosmic Hearse, Here's The Evil Eye

Fuck you. I don’t care if the Sex Pistols are a “starter punk” band. It has been twenty years since my best friend in middle school came by one morning with a tape he thought I should hear. For the past few months, both of us had been curious about what exactly punk rock entailed. One of the skater punk kids we knew told us to check out Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. This was something we had to check out together, so we made a pact that whoever got their copy first would wait until he saw the other before listening to it.

Charlie didn’t live up to that part of the deal, but he was put off by the cover artwork at first. If I recall, he just wanted to be sure that the pink background was the only ‘faggot-y’ thing about this album before I heard it. I probably would have done the same thing. It didn’t really matter, since he had the tape in his hand and was able to confirm the music’s decidedly ‘heterosexual’ status. He put the tape in the stereo and turned up the volume. The sound that began exploding from the speakers was the musical realization of what was going on inside my head. Whatever lyrics I could pick out were a direct line to the truth. Maybe I didn’t know what the Pistols meant by “God Save the Queen” at the time, but I sure understood the ugly simplicity of a statement like “there’s no future for you.” That was heavier than any Metallica song. I was transfixed, from the sound of the jackboots at the beginning of “Holidays in the Sun” all the way to Johnny Rotten’s “goodbye, A&M!” at the end of “EMI.” At that moment, Never Mind the Bollocks was the greatest rock ‘n’ roll album of all-time. The pink background was the furthest thing from my mind.

Life had just drastically changed. I no longer had to spend each morning thinking of a new reason to stay alive one more day. Punk rock was a damn good reason to remain above ground. I didn’t drink as much before going to school. The nightmares began to dissipate. As long as I had the Sex Pistols, life was not that bad. Listening to them before and after school was a million times better than therapy. The Dead Kennedys and Black Flag were soon to follow.

For me, Never Mind the Bollocks was the beginning of a process towards finding myself (“…my beautiful self”), or at least a less mentally disturbed version. I’m not sure where I would have wound up without it. Click here if you are a kid in need of that kind of guidance, or if you simply have to re-affirm a few things.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I’m in Löve (with a Deåd Blog)

According to the world I live in, every suburban punk and metalhead should have a special place in his or her hearts for GWAR. They are a band that I feel like people should have checked out early in their exploration of this music. GWAR has always been schlocky music for obnoxious teenagers. It’s not fair to say that you missed the boat otherwise, because everybody knows that it’s more about how old you feel internally. Saying that, there may still be a chance for you to properly enjoy GWAR if you still retain some aspect of shithead teenager to your overall being.

Most die-hard GWAR fans probably rate their second album, Scumdogs of the Universe, as the band’s best. For my money, it is all about the record preceding it. Hell-O! wasn’t the first GWAR album I heard, but it has remained a necessary part of my twenty-year-long musical journey. If I could only use one word to describe this album, it would be FUN. Goddamned right I said fun! From start to finish, Hell-O! exemplifies that word in the best of ways. Records like Damaged conjure up different feelings of sociopathic rage. Hell-O! is the record that makes me smile. I think there’s plenty of room in evil rock ‘n’ roll for bands that can legitimately do that. Fashionably depressed and/or angry music gets old sometimes. Save some room for the band of crack-smoking aliens stranded in Antarctica. Slayer never had the balls to write about necrobestiality as a love song, did they?

It may interest you to know that not only was this rip sourced from the original LP on Kramer’s Shimmy-Disc label, but we have also included the cassette-only bonus track “Black and Huge” for your listening pleasure. We are also happy to inform you that all of this is presented in perfect MP3 quality at a 320kbps bit rate. This is just one more example of why you are always in good hands with us here at The Evil Eye.

Friday, November 11, 2011

K.T.L.

Fifteen years ago this week, Excruciating Terror played at Gilman Street for the second time. Also included on the bill were Man is the Bastard, No Less, Noothgrush, and Benumb. Many things happened at this show. Actually, it is probably more accurate to say that many things did NOT happen, such as Man is the Bastard no-showing yet another Gilman gig. A new chapter unfolded in the Agents of Satan/Gilman beef too, but that’s another story for another time. One thing that did happen was Excruciating Terror were as fuckin’ mind-blowing as the Napalm Death Peel sessions. Another thing that happened was Max Ward happened to record their set right off the Gilman Street soundboard. The tape came out sick as fuck, so Max released it as a seven-inch on his 625 label.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Live at Gilman is the most sought-after item in Excruciating Terror’s discography. It is, after all, the best representation of their sonic intensity. I should know, since I was right up front while it was being recorded and all that jazz. The funny thing is that, live and in person, Excruciating Terror was twice as good as this record is. That’s right—twice as loud, powerful, and heavy. Supposedly, they smoked PCP before their sets. The stage lights would be turned off and you could feel the mood quickly change in the crowd. Bodies would begin flying to and fro, with little regard for personal safety. I don’t remember anyone being seriously injured at an Excruciating Terror show, but it is safe to say that those pits were violent.

It has been said that Excruciating Terror never had actual lyrics, but they were the real deal nonetheless. They weren’t a bunch of white suburban goofballs making noise to upset Mommy and Daddy. Grindcore in their hands sounded as violent and hateful as it ever could. Yet, Excruciating Terror had a groove and rhythm to their craft that most bands lacked. Maybe that’s why I continue to go back to this record while dropping something warm and brown on what passes for today’s grindcore and powerviolence. On the other hand, perhaps it is that I remember them and others too vividly to accept a newcomer’s attempt to ascend to their throne.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Concord's Most Wanted

I’ve heard that there’s some bands out there who are (or were) attempting to make modern hardcore more interesting by affecting some kind of “sketchy” image, which is kinda funny to me. Instead of wasting time on bands who want you to think they’re sketchy and fucked up, let’s look at a band who really was and see if that still sounds appealing to you.

Six Weeks Records thought they were making an antagonistic statement towards the Gilman scene clique when they released their Straight Outta Concord comp in the early ‘90s. For better or worse, the Dead Smurfs seemed to antagonize people wherever they went. They had a reputation for getting thrown out of virtually every show or party they played or attended. Some kind of scene would be made in the process, if not an actual fight. Their demo insert consisted of newspaper clippings regarding fights they’d apparently gotten into where knives were involved. A few of my friends from Concord told stories of ridiculous fights outside of parties with these guys; then I witnessed it myself when members of the Dead Smurfs and their cohorts got into it with an understaffed Gilman security at a Dr. Know gig. Ironic, since bassist Sam McGuire now plays at the club without incident whenever his band Scheisse Minelli is on tour.

As you might guess, the Dead Smurfs’ music played second fiddle to their sordid reputation. Chances are they didn’t get to finish their set when they played live anyway. If you came here expecting nasty, shitty garage hardcore reeking of malt liquor and crystal meth (or crack, if you believe their thank-you list), you’re at the right place. There’s no respect for women, the elderly, city punks, AIDS patients, the obese, or the homeless to be found here. Unfortunately, they’re not a hilarious good time like the Meatmen were back in the day. Tweaked to the gills and saying nasty shit to the bitches, the Dead Smurfs appear to mean harm. Got a problem with that? Bring that shit here, faggot.