Tuesday, February 16, 2010


"Punk died when the first kid said, 'Punks not dead!" I have no idea who said that and I wish they were wrong but unfortunately with time it seems more and more that real punk music is on serious life support and showing signs of brain damage...hang on, apparently the brain damage has always been there. I know you're all thinking, "but Matt, how can this be?! A punk band won a Grammy this year! The announcer on the TV said so." Let's get something clear right off the bat, Green Day hasn't been relative to punk rock since the mid 90's. Ask a real punk fan ("real" being the key-term there) and they'll tell you the same exact thing. Green Day has been riding the sellout train since then and they have made a stupid amount of money doing it, and that's where the problems begin. Bands see the success (i.e money) that Green Day gets and they start to follow suit (see: Alkaline Trio). Now some people might say "hey, a band is like a business and if they want to make money then why stop them?" If your sole purpose in playing music is to make money then you are doing it quite wrong, it's one thing to sign to a major label as a business move (I remember the backlash from the punk community when Dillinger Four signed to Fat Wreck however) but it's another to change the sound and content for purely commercial reasons. When that occurs you are now venturing into"sell-out" territory. There is a Green Day musical in the works, yeah that's right, a Broadway musical is being made out of American Idiot. Now if that's not selling out then I don't know what is. At the very least to continue to call yourself a "punk" band is like a slap in the face to all the real punk bands that came before you. So yeah if there's one thing to take away here it's this: if your band gets big kids, don't make a musical based on one of your albums, it's just stupid.

Alright, end rant, start review:
"so it's one of the best metal albums of '09? But it's by a punk band?"
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste

For anyone not familiar with them Propagandhi is a very outspoken political-oriented punk rock band from Canada. These guys have been killing it since '86 and they are showing no signs of slowing down with their latest release. Again if you're not familiar with them they have been drifting towards a more technical metal influenced sound with their latest releases, and that shows here. This album really lets you hear some of the more metal influences on these guys while still remaining a solid political-punk release. Old school hardcore riff'ing and furious blast-beats abound while a few songs almost have a "lighter" feel to them. The track Potemkin City Limits is the perfect example of that with it's very melody oriented atmospheric guitar work. Still this is straight up anti-establishment music and Propagandhi loves sharing their opinions on government, human rights and tolerance with us, usually in an angry manner too. One of the things that Propagandhi has always impressed me with is their lyrics, they've always seemed to be able to say a lot with a little. Hooks get you to sing along with some catchy line or chorus until you dig deeper and get the whole meaning. These guys are the absolute experts at that, you'll listen to a song by them and then the next thing you know there is a line stuck in your head for the rest of the day. The opening track "Night Letters" showcases this beautifully and features thrash-influenced guitar work that would make the likes of James Hetfield, Scott Ian and Kerry King jealous (notice I didn't mention Dave Mustaine because Dave Mustaine never gets jealous of anyone AMIRITE?!). Some of the best displays of the technical chops of Propagandhi comes on the track "The Funeral Procession" and makes it one of the standout songs off this album in my opinion. All in all, in a year that was pretty weak in music (2009) Supporting Caste is quite an astonishing work and is an ideal alternative to the likes of Rise Against who are fast becoming generic and pop infused. This album is worth every cent and I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 12, 2010

School is busy and time consuming

School has been consuming my time a lot, it sucks being a bioinformatics major and a music minor. It should be noted that I hate neither subjects it's just that the amount of reading that those subjects require is consuming a lot of time but the content is quite enjoyable at least. I'm going to school in Albany and I feel it's appropriate to mention that the music scene up here is very impressive. Being a college town, a somewhat decent size city and located in the middle of New York there is a very interesting mix of styles and acts that play in the area. You can go to a dive bar one night and watch a local two-piece art rock act for $2 and then the next night go blow over fifty bucks at the Times Union Center for some overrated, over-hyped national touring alternative band. The diveristy of the genres up here is what is impressing me the most, but coming from Poughkeepsie where all the bands were either generic metalcore or generic alt. rock that might not be saying much. If you got the time look into Albany area natives After The Fall, Dead Aces and The Killerados .

Alright end rant begin review:

"You got you're post-rock guitars in my emo vocals! You got you're emo vocals in my..."

Seasons In Verse

Seasons In Verse by the Connecticut band My Heart To Joy has to be one of the hidden gems of '09. My Heart To Joy has been around since early 2006, and they've been going strong ever since. One of my favorite things about them is the way they have evolved over the years. With origins in hardcore punk they blended in indie and art influences to sculpt their sound into something that is now comparable to Thursday and At The Drive-In. This shift in sound helped them stand out and garnered them a record deal. Seasons in Verse is the first full length record they have put out. The opening instrumental track with atmospheric guitars is reminiscent of post-rock such as sleepmakeswaves. The lead vocals of Ryan Nelson and backing vocals of Greg Horbal are post-hardcore in the vein of Thursday. The standout track on this album that showcases their blend of post-hardcore and indie rock has to be Old Capitals. The song features some of Greg's best guitar work on the album in my opinion and his post-rock inspired solo is one of the best examples of the keep-it-simple. I saw these guys live back in January and they absolutely killed it. Not only are they talented musicians but they are really friendly guys too. They have new material on the way too so be on the lookout for that and try to catch them on tour if you have the means.