Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Chicago's Finest

Big Black, Naked Raygun and the Effigies were seminal post punk bands from Chicago. Among the three, Naked Raygun was the most melodic and some say the most muscle-bound band from the Windy City. Along with Hüsker Dü, Naked Raygun was one of the first U.S. post-punk bands of the early '80s that merged melodic influences with punk/hardcore. Formed during 1981 in Chicago, IL (and largely influenced by such art-punkers as Wire and Gang of Four), the group contained several different members during its ten-year career, including leaders Jeff Pezzati (vocals), John Haggerty (guitar), Marko Pezzati (bass), Jim Colao (drums), and, early on, future Big Black member Santiago Durango (guitar). Naked Raygun made it clear early on that they were unafraid to speak their minds (especially when it came to their personal political views, which were often from a strong and "macho" point of view), as proven by such confrontational compositions as "Tojo" and "Potential Rapist" off their 1983 debut Basement Screams. 1985's Throb Throb saw the group hone their sound even further (adding more melody, in addition to a more meatier and metallic guitar sound), as evidenced by the album's single "Surf Combat."

Naked Raygun - Basement Screams

Naked Raygun - All Rise

Naked Raygun - Jettison

The Effigies was formed in 1980 and became one of Chicago’s significant punk bands. Their music is not as political as Naked Raygun though their lyrics tackled the nitty gritty realities of urban life. They released 3 albums, and a compilation of their early releases, Remians Nonviewable. “Remains Nonviewable is 40 minutes of the most incendiary, intelligent, and expertly executed punk you will ever hear. Infinite substance and zero pose.” – All Music Guide.

Effigies - Remains Nonviewable

BIG BLACK.While punk rock was always supposed to be about pushing the envelope, few post-punk bands seemed willing to go quite so far to creatively confront their audience as Big Black. The group's guitars alternately sliced like a machete and ground like a dentist's drill, creating a groundbreaking and monolithic dissonance in the process. Their use of a drum machine, cranked up to ten and sounding a tattoo that pummeled the audience into submission, was a crucial precursor to the coming industrial music scene while creating a sound which was far more challenging and organic than what groups such as Ministry and Nine Inch Nails would achieve with similar ingredients. Big Black's songs, which openly dealt with such topics as mutilation, murder, rape, child molestation, arson, immolation, racism, and misogyny, established them as a group that acknowledged no taboos; and while they didn't seem to be advocating the anti-social or criminal behavior they sang about, there was also a level of familiarity with their subject matter which made more than a few listeners blanch. Big Black was a band that went where few bands dared to go (and where many felt bands shouldn't go), and for good or ill their pervasive influence had a seismic impact on indie rock. At the same time, Big Black was a group who maintained firmly held ideals when it came to doing business; they paid for their own recordings, booked their own shows, handled their own management and publicity, and remained stubbornly independent at a time when many independent bands were eagerly reaching out for the major-label brass ring. – All Music Guide

Big Black - The Rich Man's 8 Track

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Repo Man

Watching Emilio Estevez sing “We’ve got nothing better to do, than watch TV and have a couple of brews…” in the movie Repo Man has a profound effect on every young punk growing up in the early 80’s. Well, at least it has an effect on me. I can totally relate to what the character in the movie was going through at the time: bored, alienated, disenfranchised, or just plain pissed off.

Let’s talk about my post before I get too emotional and smash someone’s skull. This band needs no introduction, BLACK FLAG, and their song TV Party is one of the few songs I sing to Dylan when I’m putting him to sleep (the others were Bikeage by Descendents and Minor Threat by Minor Threat). TV Party’s got great lyrics and great melody. Melody? Not something you’d expect from one of the progenitors of hardcore, but yes it has a great melody. Plus I can insert my own favorite TV shows and some stupid local soap operas just for laughs.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy the post. By the way, Slip It In was recently posted at Hangover Heart Attack, check it out.

Black Flag – Wasted… Again
Black Flag – First Four Years
Black Flag – My War
Black Flag – Jealous Again 7”

Black Flag – In My Head

Friday, June 15, 2007

Welcome to my Alley!!!

I started this blog because of my son Dylan, he’s 5 months old now and been listening and digging (I guess) his old man’s music. I’m starting him young, blasting out Septic Death, the hardcore DRI and my recent faves – Vitamin X. I even played to him ENT’s Holocaust in Your Head last night while I’m trying to put him to sleep, but he didn’t (go figure). Of course, my wife’s less than thrilled to see her son listening to ENT and Doom late at night.

This is true, whenever I play Septic Death, he really seems to be digging it and he doesn’t move around especially while I’m carrying him. He doesn’t do this when I’m playing other bands, say the Ramones.

Anyways, Slobodan Burgher already posted Septic Death plus a cute picture of Dylan over at Only In It For The Music. So, it’s time for me to post some more of his favorites, Vitamin X (see links below). Expect more posts from me…