Friday, January 28, 2011

Wisdom in Chains "Pocono Ghosts" (2011)

Remember a couple of days ago how I said that Wisdom in Chains has a new 7 inch coming out in a month or so on Reaper Records? Well, since then a couple of things have happened. First, Reaper Records finally put up a pre-order. The pre-order is available in a gold or a red vinyl, and the three tracks that are on the record were put up on

While I’m sitting here writing this post, I’m listening to all three songs over and over and over and over. From the second “In Case You Forgot” kicks in, you’ll tell that this isn’t going to be anything but a great fucking listen. The lyrics are amazing. It’s hard to say what exactly the song is about because the lyrics can be interpreted a few ways. That is absolutely NOT a bad thing. Everyone has someone in their lives that they can relate this song to, whether it’s a significant other, a best friend, or children. It’s the type of song that I’ve come to expect from these guys. Meaningful, thought out lyrics with the aggression and intensity that gets the point across without any filler nonsense. “Spit It Back” is just as intense. Again, lyrically it’s a fantastic song, and the driving aggressive guitar riffs mesh well with everything else going on in the song. They finish up the 7 inch with a cover of Motorhead’s song “R.A.M.O.N.E.S.”. While it’s not an original, it was a great choice. I’ve heard the Motorhead version and the version the Ramones actually do of this song, and it’s done justice here. In my opinion it’s a perfect mesh of both versions. Musically it’s got the bouncy punk feeling the Ramones gave it, and Mad Joe’s vocals capture the grit of Lemmy.

To say that I’m excited about this 7 inch would be an understatement. Since the very first time I saw Wisdom in Chains a couple years ago with Sick of It All at “The Church” in Philadelphia, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed listening to them. Add to that the fact that they are all great guys, it was a forgone conclusion that I would be buying this as soon as possible. Getting to listen to it before it’s released is sending me completely into “fan-boy” mode.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Deviates "My Life" (1998) and "Time Is the Distance" (2001)

Here's a band that showed a lot of promise and disappeared with almost no notice. I suppose, you know, two albums, that's more than most hc/punk bands put out, so that's all right--but both albums are so good, it's just too bad they didn't stick around long enough to put out a third.

The Deviates, from southern California, put out their first record, "My Life," on Theologian Records, in 1998. Produced by Fletcher Dragge of Pennywise, it's sixteen fast songs, two minutes each on average, with lots of great riffs and very melodic choruses. "My Life," "One Day," "Classes," "I Remember," and "Land of Opportunities," are among the best tunes on the album, but really, they're all great, with the small exception of "Who's Johnny," which has such ridiculous lyrics, the music is somewhat overshadowed. Everything else, though, lyrically and musically, is fast, intense, and fun. A lot of their songs tell stories too; I like when bands do that.

Their second album, "Time Is the Distance," came out on Epitaph three years later, and it took me a little while to get into it, but once I did, and realized what a good record it was, I started listening to it even more than "My Life." The album features a very slick recording sound, which turned me off at first. Forgive the cliche, but there's something really cool about the "raw" sound of "My Life."

"Time Is the Distance" is good in other ways, though. It continues the storytelling style of the first album, and is much darker and moodier than "My Life." But that in no way means it's slower. They continue their style of fast, melodic hardcore, but there's something much more pessimistic about the album's lyrics. Kinda makes you wonder what happened to them, or to their singer anyway, in the three years between records. Standout tracks are "Come With Me," "Right Back To You," and "So I Become," but again, they're all good, with the exception of "My Crime," a lyrical misfire about how the singer likes to curse, and people shouldn't give him a hard time about it. Uh-huh. . . . Otherwise, great album.

I saw these guys a few times when they were together, and was disappointed to hear they'd broken up. I don't recall any kind of announcement; I just went on their site one day and saw that they'd thrown in the towel. It would have been interesting to see how they'd further develop their sound with a third album, but it was not to be. Check em out; definitely one of the more impressive, and rarely talked about, SoCal punk bands to come out of the late 90's/early 00's scene.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Supertouch "Lost My Way" (2011)

Today marked the release of Supertouch’s 7 inch, “Lost My Way”, on Reaper Records. I won’t sit here and pretend that I’m a big Supertouch fan, because I’m not. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to it a bunch of times, and my opinion on it is that it’s a good record. The songs are well written lyrically and musically, but I’m not real sure what the big deal is. I’ve listened to “The Earth is Flat” a whole lot, and “Lost My Way” isn’t as heavy. We’ll get back to this in a second. The title track, “Lost My Way” is in my opinion the best on the 7 inch, but just like the others it sounds like an indie rock track instead of a hardcore track. I’ve been confused as to how Supertouch is classified as hardcore. When I saw them at the Black and Blue Bowl last year, and then with listening to “The Earth is Flat” and now “Lost My Way”, I’m even more confused. Maybe one of you that actually reads this blog can fill me in, because especially now, I feel like they’re an indie rock band. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t listen to this, it’s definitely worth listening to. I just don’t see it as a hardcore record. Let me know what you think.

Track Listing:
1. Get On Get On
2. Just These Days
3. Lost My Way
4. Now That You're Far From Home

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wisdom in Chains "Die Young" Vinyl Re-issue

A week and a half ago I was on, trying to figure out if I wanted to order the new Social Distortion record, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”. I was looking through the list of records releasing on January 18th, and when I got to the very bottom of the list, I immediately knew I wasn’t ordering the Social D record. Cupcake Records did a vinyl re-issue of one of my top 3 favorite hardcore albums, Wisdom in Chain’s “Die Young” (the other two are H2O’s “FTTW” and Blood for Blood’s “Outlaw Anthems”). I ordered it immediately without hesitation, and I’ve been waiting less than patiently for it to arrive, and FINALLY today it showed up.

I’ve owned “Die Young” on CD for a while, so getting it on vinyl wasn’t completely necessary, but with my new addiction to vinyl, it had to be done. I’m glad I ordered it. As great as it was on cd, the experience of listening to it on vinyl is worth it. The vinyl is missing the live versions of “Dragging Me Down” and “We’re Not Helping” and the track “Snakes” that are on the CD, but they’re replaced with “Looking Down on a Friend”. While the three tracks on the CD are great and a lot of fun to listen to, they aren’t missed as much as I thought they would be, because “Looking Down on a Friend” is a great song.

Now that it’s here, I have my top 3 albums on vinyl, and I plan on adding more. You can order the vinyl (or the CD) from Wisdom in Chains also has a new 7” releasing Feb/March on Reaper Records called “Pocono Ghosts”, keep your eyes out for that.

LP Track Listing:
1. We're Not Helping
2. Liar
3. Nowhere
4. One of These Days
5. Fade
6. Dragging Me Down
7. The Game of War
8. Pass the Cup
9. Friday Night Drama
10. Die Young
11. Fighting in the Streets
12. Too Far Gone
13. Get To Steppin'
14. Out of Season
15. Time to Play
16. Smash Your Face
17. Nothing Like You
18. Looking Down On a Friend

Finally, a new post

It’s been over two months since I’ve written anything. Until recently, I didn’t think anybody noticed that, but I had three different people come up to me and say “Dude, you haven’t posted anything since November 16th. What’s going on?” or some variation of that statement. Truth is, I haven’t really had much drive to write about anything. I made plans to write things several times, and just never got the motivation to do it. I thought things had gotten a little stagnant, but now I’ve gotten the motivation again, and I have a lot of stuff planned for the near future. Now that all of this is out of the way, on to the actual reason for this post……

This past weekend was filled with kick ass shows. It was also a weekend where I left my comfort zone, and went to places that I’ve never been to for a show. Both venues were great, but very different environments.

Friday night I FINALLY made a trip down to the Polish Club in Phoenixville (PA) for a show. I have gotten to know a few people from down that way from them making the trip up to the Burner’s to either play or see shows that Walt and Dukes were putting on, so it wasn’t a completely foreign environment to me. That being said, the Polish Club is a pretty great spot to see a show. The floor area is large, and the sound is good. Start to finish it was a good show, that had a great lineup. My Turn to Win played a great set, Vision was a helluva lot of fun to watch (as usual), and Death Threat killed it.

Saturday night Dukes and I made the trek to the Moose Lodge in Brick Township (NJ), another great spot to see a show. It was nowhere near as large as the Polish Club, but it was more intimate. The show floor was literally the size of a pretty standard living room, so everyone was piled in with the band. Again, all the bands put on a great show. From the first band, Changes, it was balls to the walls. Sicker Than Most played a great set, and Razorblade Handgrenade was even better in Jersey than they were the few times I’ve seen them in PA. Seeing Wisdom in Chains in such a small setting, was absolutely the highlight. Unfortunately we didn’t stay for Social Decay or Maximum Penalty, but that was only because it was a 2 hour drive back home, and Dukes had places he wanted to be (that’s the sound of the bus running him over by the way).

Both of these places had great crowds, which was awesome, but both of these venues were not in anywhere near as heavily a populated area as the Burners. The scene in the Valley pales in comparison to the thriving scenes in Jersey and the Philly area. It’s a shame because great shows are put on at the Burners, but the turn out is sometimes weak.

I have one more point that I want to make. I’ve heard mention of the Philly/Baltimore dancing mentality being rough and “fists flying everywhere”, but didn’t really pay attention to it. I’ve gone to a lot of shows in Philly, but not in Jersey/New York to compare it to. Saturday I saw the difference. Friday night when Death Threat played, the Polish Club went nuts. It went from basically no dancing for the other bands, to fists and feet flying everywhere. It was pretty much guaranteed that if you were near the front you were getting hit and kicked. I’m not bitching, it’s part of the expectation when I go to a show that I’m going to get knocked around a little. Saturday was a completely different story. It was an extremely confined space, and there was dancing, but it was not nearly as violent. Anytime someone was dancing towards the crowd, they flew into the crowd back first, instead of fist first. It was a noticeable difference.

It was great getting away from the area this weekend to go to some awesome shows. I can’t wait till winter is over and more shows start going on at the Burner’s. If this weekend was any indication, it’s going to be a great fucking year.