Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bjork Live

Here is the show from MSG. The link will expire in a few days.
Bjork - MSG 9-24-07 (Part 1)
Bjork - MSG 9-24-07 (Part 2)

It was a great show for a Bjork show, I really only paid attention when the beats were involved.

Check out 'Hyperballad' where Mark Bell flips and throws on his classic, "Freak" by LFO.

And the end of 'Declare Independence' when she marches the boys from Justice on stage to bug out on the ReacTable.

Enjoy this Mr. Hower.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beyonce - Flaws and all

Im telling you, the drum programming on this song (yeah I said it) is unbelievable. And the video is 5 minutes of Beyonce mugging for the camera under grainy footage, being fine as hell. Laugh all you want, but deep down, you are glad I put you on to this.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pierced From Within

I'm fuckin excited. Work got me a badge for CMJ this year, so I will be covering the shit out of it. I can't wait. I will be running around downtown like a maniac, going to way too many shows, learning too much at the panels and most likely destroying myself thoroughly. We'll see if I make it.

Also, Im going to the premiere of Control tomorrow. Excited as fuck for that too. Ive buried myself in Joy Division lately, read his wife's book, etc in preparation for this movie. Look for a review when I get done.

Also worked at the Pussy Party (second one down) this weekend. Made money, wore a shirt that said "Sine Your Pitty on the Runny Kine". I made one for my boy Jargy that said "Breaka Breaka One Hymen". It was the Pussy Party after all. Shouts to Roxy, Katie, and Jules.

Check below for magazine reviews and a "review" of a Finntroll show I went to recently.

Going to see Bjork tonight at MSG, will let you know how that goes.

Your Mother.

Reviews 9-24-07

Some reviews I did for the upcoming issue of Beautiful Decay...

Buck 65 - Situation
Buck has a new number to scratch up in his intros: 57. Situation is centered around the year 1957, a year that Buck believes to be one of the most important in western history, for all of its atomic paranoia, white people doing black things, and howling poet types, I’m not sure if there is supposed to be a modern day parallel but it’s an easy line to draw. The beats are more “Square” than “This Right Here”, and the subject matter takes a few listens to really sink in and become rewarding, but this is a Buck album no matter what, so you can bet on dusty loops, gritty voice, and (refreshingly) outdated subject matter.

Iller Than Theirs - Iller Than Theirs
This is definitely real. Nuk Fam’s Tone Tank and Krayo put together a nice little piece of honest, undiluted hip hop on Iller than Theirs. Tone and Kray won’t bullshit you; in fact, they spend the short 40 minutes of this album deliberately doing the opposite. Of course every hip hop album wants to be a reaction to all things fake and ‘mainstream’ (whatever that means these days) but very few can achieve such a real attitude without even trying. Highlights: ‘After All’ had me actually believing that “it’s not so bad after all” (it was the ill piano loop that did it), ‘Good peoples’, an ode to all the decent people in your circle, made me call up every friend who let me crash on their couch and eat their pop tarts, and ‘The Same’ (with a fantastic verse from Masta Ace), a track railing against the gentrification of Brooklyn, made me feel like a dick for moving to New York and even setting foot in Brooklyn. Enjoy.

Ivan Ives - Iconoclast
What’s with headquarters hitting me off with all of these Russian rappers? It’s all good I’m broke. Ivan Ives came from the former U.S.S.R. and has spent time on both U.S. coasts. His style reflects his multicultural background, but this is essentially an “East Coast” record. Ives’ cultural identity is that of an immigrant kid who was brought up from the Bloc to the Block. His flow is deep and world weary, but always looking up, embracing the dark and shitty times as a step to something better (namely on ‘Mad Game’), and lapsing only occasionally into his native tongue because lets face it, sometimes there just aren’t enough words in the English language. Iconoclast is dope, but if you have any doubt, just know that at one point he claims he is “better than jay-z on reasonable doubt”. Check it out and see if he is full of shit or not.

10 ft. Ganja Plant - Presents

There's two types of dub in my mind. The first (chronologically, and for the sake of this review) is that blunted, warm, lowdown and lo-fi sound that makes you wonder why we ever desired to ditch the analog. The second is that clean, updated digi-dub shit that makes you realize the benefits of our modern (but still blunted) technology.
This album is a beautiful specimen of the first class. John Brown's Body core members put together an album far from their jammy expansions, reducing their dub sound to a mellow, old-school uni-rhythm, scratched on the surface by analog delay and haze in the air. I want to go on, but to quote my father on the day I was born, "As usual, I'm way too high for this."

Saturday, September 22, 2007


"What do you think of priests here in America?"

"We think you should eat them. Eat the priest!"

And they ripped into a weird mix of general metal shreddiness, Scandinavian polka rhythms, and of course, black metal...

I put my drink in the air and tried not to sneeze. Thanks to an impulsive entry to win tickets to this thing, I was now in the worst venue in New York with a 9 dollar black russian in my hand when I should have been at home getting better. Fucking Finntroll.

I wasn't that mad though, it felt good to be out of the house, and I hadn't paid for shit more than a bottle of water. It could have been worse.

The band, as their faux corpse paint/tribal facial tattoos ran like mascara off of their faces, ripped into a straight up accordion and drums polka rhythm. On purpose, and I was instantly reminded of my grandma, Dot.

Polka Dot, was the name. It was her clown name, and she wasn't afraid to point out the classic humor in a name like that, as if you didn't get the joke, that she spent her widowed nights out at the Bel-Ray or some Lion's Club proxy, dancing the polka with "the fellas", and that her name, Dorothy, had been traditionally cut to a curt "Dot" by generations before her. Good joke grandma.

Her dance card was always full, and the clown thing was for real, she did my birthday party in full clown gear, all squirting flowers and balloon animals. She did the same at my day care's carnival, an event that I, all of 11 years old took it upon myself to spearhead. I booked my grandmother as talent when I was 11.

I don't think she ever got paid, and I don't think she thought for one second, as she picked up that clown suit from the dry cleaners, "I wonder if this whole thing is weird for a lady my age." No, she thought, "I am Polka Dot."

I don't think she would have liked Finntroll though, no matter how far they leaned towards traditional polka, the satanism and distortion would have given her another stroke. Actually, the satanism wouldn't have really turned her off, it would have been the distortion and screaming.

One night, as my cousin and I rocked out to Wrecx N' Effect's "Rump Shaker" in my room over my brother's hand me down chrome shelf system, she beat down my door, demanding that we turn down what she called "that boom boom music". See, she slept in the next room from me, and it was the bass that got her.

If I had been listening to Darkthrone or Immortal, or Finntroll for that matter, I'm not sure what she would have said "Turn down that (makes vomit retching noise and then actually vomits) music." I can't say I blame her, she had impeccable taste and I was jiving to a song that goes "All I wanna do is zoom-a-zoom zoom zoom and a-boom boom (just shake your rump!)" at 2 in the morning on a Friday.

The more I think about it, my grandma is inextricably linked to my black-metal pot smoking days. For all intents and purposes, Dot lived in my house for most of my adolescent life. Many nights, sneaking in stoned, praying I don't encounter a parent, praying that my friends don't chuckle too loudly at the refrigerator, she would be the only one to wake up and hassle us for being out too late.

One stoned summer night after a marathon session with a graduated cylindrical bong-thing, my friend Jason insisted that she opened her door and engaged him in a standoff for bathroom rights. "Her eyes turned red and she morphed into a turkey", he told me later, thus giving her the nickname "Turkey" among all my friends. Since then Jason has been in and out of a few different institutions, but he is OK now.

As the Kaluha drained out, and as the ice finally succumbed to gravity and hit me in the lips I realized I still would have told her about this. I would have honestly tried to bridge the gap with her, between my black metal and her polka, in Finntroll we would have found that common ground. As I drove, learner's permit style through the streets of Bloomington in her 4-door go-kart 86 Chevy Nova with the P.O.L.K.A. (Polka Lovers Klub of America) sticker on its bumper and baseball cap in the back window ("I have it there so people think I'm a fella, they would be less likely to hassle a fella when he's driving"), I would throw a Finntroll album into her after factory tape player and explain to her that somewhere, buried in all of this noise, there lay polka, and that she should love it.

I set my drink down and looked up, hoping to see her bubbled brown-black haircut (she never died it once, and was proud of that fact), weaving through the crowd, dancing that weird jig-mosh thing that people do at shows like this.

I didn't though, all I saw were sweaty metal kids trying to give the impression they loved this this more than they actually did.

I inherited that car by the way. She willed it to me, P.O.L.K.A. sticker and all, and I drove it proudly for years.

We left BB Kings early into the allergenic night air of Times Square. As we left the lights and things got darker towards Bryant Park, I thought of the last time I "spoke" to ol' Dot.

They were about to pull the plug, and my auntie Jer stuck her phone to my grandmother's last face. I was to speak for my cousin and myself, he couldn't bring himself to do it...

Its hard to know what to say to someone who you know is going to die. You are not going to get by with automatic "get well soon" and "we all cant wait to see you again" phrases. Suddenly your arsenal of bullshit is severely limited and you have no choice but to be real.

I was tongue tied as I could hear nothing except her machine assisted breathing, too perfect and too metered to be humane any longer. "Grandma, Justin and I just want you to know that we love you...and we will miss you so much, but if you have to go, go ahead. We love you. We love you."

Or something to that effect...I'm not quite sure how it came out, but thats what I meant.

She died on Christmas Eve, and from that point on we raise our glasses and drop tears, "To Polka Dot, Merry Christmas, We miss you".

Thanks, Finntroll.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Drivers

Ha. Another zombie story eh? This blog is getting silly...

You’d never believe it, but the true badasses, the real fucking heroes of this entire thing were not the soldiers (‘we are SO ready for the last war’), the police, the government, the “human spirit” or even Zack. No. The real fucking heroes are the pizza delivery guys. I shit you not.

It really got fucked when the only place I could find was a foot locker, about 3 feet square to hide in. I closed it on myself and it somehow stayed that way…

Think about it, the very idea of pizza delivery sprang up once folks decided to barricade themselves in suburban homes to keep dangerous minorities away from their lives and their expensive shit. This is kind of the same situation, except the trend of barricading your entire family extended itself into an actual life and death matter.

How The Drivers took hold I will never know…but they did. At first they spent their time fortifying their own shops, stealing generators, living off of stored ingredients. They had enough to support themselves while they got their shit together.

They swarmed, they always do, at first it was only a few, but eventually I could hear them piling up…

They were on some road warrior shit. Half of them were packing anyway, not the pimply college kids working a summer job. Most of them got chewed up as soon as the shit hit the fan. I’m talking about the lifers, the guys with DUIs on their record, no education, NRA memberships, bad backs and drug problems. Those guys took over.

Think about it, all these people barricaded in their homes, churches, whatever, they needed food. And The Drivers could get it to them.

I’m sure they only delivered a few actual pizzas initially, after their stores ran out, eventually they became more like paid scouts, heading out into the white zones to pick up spare food and deliver it to whoever paid.

They were piled so high on top of the box that parts of it started to dent in. I could hear them, inches away from me, snarling and biting each other. Trying to get to me.

And I will say it again; they were fucking bad-ass. Their uniforms changed from dorky shorts and embroidered polo shirts to heavily reinforced leather and work fabrics. Some of them even worked up some chain mail to cover the weak parts. It helped protect them but made them a little slow, which affected tips. The crazy part is they maintained their corporate identities. They hacked the patches and insignias off of their old uniforms and stitched them onto their new ones.

They also did insane things to their cars. Delivery drivers already know how to change their oil, and do general repairs, but who knew they knew how to weld steel plating, wire insanely bright halogen light sets, throw in new suspension and beefed up engines to handle the extra weight. These things were fucking tanks, with gun ports, spikes everywhere, and yes, even those damn light up pizza siren things.

So there they were, gangs of roving maniacs, out saving the world (for a price). The Drivers. They stayed loyal to their colors too. Dominos was the first to get a foothold in the market, on account of a local general manager, Louie Bruno, being an ex green-beret/martial arts expert/general Brooklyn bad ass. I heard that before the storm once, he was ambushed on his way to make a night drop at the bank. Instead of giving up the money like those corporate training videos told him to do, he beat the shit out of the guy, grabbed his gun and chased him to his car, calling him a pussy the entire time.

I couldn’t move, they were right on top of me. Their spit and blood and fluid was leaking into the box, and I kept puking on myself from their smell… after a few hours I was dry heaving, an hour after that it was blood, and I kept passing out…

Louie trained his Dominos guys. They were the original bad asses. They didn’t fuck with guns very much. They would roll up, three or four of them would jump out of the back of a van/tank with Lobos and machetes and other randomly thrown together melee weapons. 2 would go to work clearing Zack out of the delivery area while the other two would unload the goods onto the customer.

Little Caesar’s was next up, and they were pretty hardcore too. Remember their mascot, the little cartoon dictator or whatever? He had those pizzas on the end of that fucked up pitchfork? Well The Caesars had those things too. Cast iron, two prongs, long as hell, strapped to their back. I received a delivery once, the driver was getting ready to give me the food when a quick one surprised him. Before I could even start bitching that he forgot my Cinna Sticks, he had his fork out and buried straight into the G’s chest.

Fucking thing was stuck there, thrashing around like crazy on the end of that stick. The Driver just held him there, pinned to the pavement like it was nothing. I then realized why they made their weapons so long. Same concept as a dog catchers leash/lasso/pole thing, keep the rabid shits as far away as possible. He didn’t seem to mind. It was damn hard calculating 20 percent with a thrashing zombie 5 feet away from me.

After about 4 hours I came to... gunshots…someone else was in the room…

Loyalty and turf became a huge fucking deal. Delivery zones became sacred, if 2 opposing crews ended up on the same road there wasn’t any kind of discussion. These massive steel hulking bulldozer fucking cars would just slam right into each other until one crew was dead. They really did stick to their own zones though, so collisions were rare, but the roads were so fucked that detours were inevitable.

I heard about a Papa John’s squad coming across a lone Domino’s Driver in their zone. The Domino had gotten separated from his crew on a botched delivery and wandered into the wrong zone.

The Papas were particularly gnarly. A lot folks said it was on account of all the sugar in their sauce and dough. Some said it was their mob-bred roots. Anyway, they took this poor fucker, stripped off his armor, strapped him to the front of their transport, and went about their business making deliveries. The whole time he was there he acted as a kind of lightning rod for Zack. They would all swarm on him and rip him apart, leaving room for The Papas to get paid. Eventually he turned, of course, so they wasted him and left him strapped there. Hood ornament.

The more shots I heard the louder everything around me get, as layers of them fell off of my putrid stronghold.

Eventually, resources ran so low that The Drivers became pretty hardcore about their money, or whatever it was you were giving them in exchange for food. When it got really desparate, the luckiest houses were the ones that had women. Those pornos where the pizza guy stops by to deliver the “extra sausage” pizza and ends up railing two already-naked (she just came over to use the shower) stay-at-home moms… well that shit happened all the time…except in this version the pizza guy is covered in gore and the moms are all malnourished and half-crazy. Nice.

Payment of any kind was serious business too. I heard about a customer who owed them money for like 3 months. After three months The Drivers, a crew from Pizza Hut (pussies by driver standards) came to collect. They knocked down every door in the house, and raided the place. They grabbed everything of any kind of value. Not money but booze, pornos, prescription drugs, medical supplies, clothes, books, magazines, anything they wanted. They took all of this as payment and left. And they didn’t stop to put the doors back up.

Eventually they ran out of bullets…I could tell they had switched to melee weapons now as I could hear the sounds of stabbing, slicing, bones breaking, rotted skulls caving in…
They got close to me, I could hear them killing the last layer, and…”FUCK!” I screamed as 3 feet of rusty pipe came punching through the roof of the box, right through my calf…


To be continued

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

EDIT: The (beats on the) new Kanye album... (are) better than I want to admit.