Any post that sucks

Kissing Cuzzins – We’ll Burn That Bridge When We Come To It (2008)

junkheadv1tmbKissing Cuzzins – We’ll Burn That Bridge When We Come To It

2008 was a long time ago, and unfortunately for Kissing Cuzzins, hip hop beats has a short expiration date.

While definitely a product of it’s time, listening to the backing now makes it feel lazy and uncreative. The first couple tracks take a pastiche approach where tons of styles are cut and pasted, but this is only true sometimes. The parts that cook like the IDM-influenced close to “I’m Like The Following” are too short, and too much time is spent on hooks and simple beats that never really dig into the listener. The worst is “God Mode”, which repeats it’s flaccid chorus (You think you’re in God mode/You think you’re in God mode/You think you’re in God mode/IDDQD) so many times to a repetitive drum and bass blurp that they must have really thought it was clever. By the end, your eyes will roll into the back of your head as “Secret Track” manages to steal the drum beat from both JJ Fadd’s “Super Sonic” and 2 Live Crew’s “Me So Horny” without adding in any cool bassline to back it up.

Stale beats aside, the boys lyrics and style are really fun, and the overall tone of the album is light and cool. Whether they’re putting “the dick back in diction” or “dropping audible bombs like your grandmother’s cooter“, it’s impossible to not have fun listening to these guys. While most of the rhymes are snotty wit, there’s a strong self-loathing charm to some of the lyrics: “Demeaning job, car on loan/24 years old and still living at home” accurately summarizes post-adolescence in a recession-ridden 2008 wasteland.

Still, I think it’s cooler to rhyme Tardis with retarded, and that’s about 80% of the album. My personal favorite line: “I’m just Hudson and Hawking for the diamond motherfucker”.

Music: C-
Rapping: A-
Overall: B-

Listen to the album here



tinyayholev1a I’m just sitting here contemplating.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m actually listening to Stryper now.
tinyayholev1a I’m listening to Kenny Chesney.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m breaking up with you.
tinyayholev1a You need to broaden your musical tastes.
tinyjunkheadv1a Back in high school, I was super ironic, so the idea that Stryper was a Christian metal band was super funny to me, so I bought up all their albums on cassette because they were like a quarter.
tinyayholev1a I remember all the old fogies in Church talking about Stryper. Their music videos would be on TV sometimes. On Turner Broadcast or whatever. I always thought that was weird, because it was over the air.
tinyjunkheadv1a They were never on TV when I watched, but after listening to To Hell With the Devil thirty times in my car, I decided their goodie two-shoes image was way more appealing than inverted crosses and such.
Metal’s all about Satan and stuff, so someone singing about God is WAY more against the status quo than you’d think.
Just like I did back in my giggly 9th grade year, I underestimated Stryper’s power going into the show earlier this week at St. Andrew’s Hall.
tinyayholev1a I had some Christian metal tapes when I was younger, like White Cross. I actually thought Stryper sounded too old fashioned when I was younger. I liked that screamo metal crap.
Now that I’m older I can appreciate how awesome older sounding stuff really is.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s crazy, I didn’t know that.
tinyayholev1a I will say that the 2015 Fallen album is very not old fashioned sounding, but they only played Yahweh at the concert.
tinyjunkheadv1a ’80s metal was my thing, so Stryper wasn’t bad, but they definitely had too many ballads compared to Iron Maiden and stuff.
tinyayholev1a One ballad is enough.
It can get boring real fast.
tinyjunkheadv1a They played only two ballads I believe, and both were from To Hell With The Devil. They played the whole album to commemorate its thirtieth anniversary.
Which sucked for them because that meant they opened with the title track, which was like ultra-premature ejaculation.
tinyayholev1a All these anniversary tours are making me feel old.
I anticipated the whole album, however.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, the album’s older than both of us I think.
tinyayholev1a You keep thinking that, young punk.
“Calling on you” is my junk. I almost cried, but my ears were bleeding the whole time.
I didn’t look at the set list, so when they announced they were playing another set after the whole album, I was excited that they would play songs that were not cover songs.
tinyjunkheadv1a “Calling on You” has that cool Beatlesque pre-chorus. I was surprised that I remembered all the words to every song.
For a long time, To Hell With the Devil was the only thing I listened to on my tape deck, and it all came pouring back out my mouth as I sang to every song.
tinyayholev1a According to Sweet, this tour was the first time that “All of Me” was ever performed. Originally I thought “Honestly” was better, but that’s probably because it’s just more popular. It also has catchy pop psychology in it. But “All of Me” is shoot from the hip emotion.
tinyjunkheadv1a “All of Me” felt really cool. Like, it was honest and ballady?
“The Way” is one of my favorites though. It definitely increased my head-banging tenfold.
tinyayholev1a I danced hard to “More Than A Man.” Most of the crowd was still coming out of their shells, too. Also, I want to be more than a man and that song is pretty rockin.
tinyjunkheadv1a That song rules. The chorus is like five minutes long and everyone was all over it.
They took a break after that and there was this buzzing noise that was super loud.
tinyayholev1a At this point my ears started hurting. I was glad there was a break, but then they blasted Battle Hymn of the Republic and myself, being tall, got the full dose. There was also this dude behind me that was doing one of those father whistles where he sticks two fingers in his mouth, turns at my ear and blows louder than the music.
I could hear it the entire show during the songs. I finally got behind him so he turns to the guy in front of me and just screams in his face. This guy was hyped out of his mind.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah I was okay. They played “Yahweh”, which got me psyched up so hard. I think it bothered everyone else.
My head was practically hitting the ground I was rockin’ so hard, but it felt like everyone else wasn’t really interested.
tinyayholev1a It wasn’t thirty years old, like the rest of the set. I was waiting for them to play “Shout at the Devil,” since the opening act mentioned that they were going to play a Motley Crew song.
tinyjunkheadv1a Did they?
Oh yeah, the opening act was local.
They played two songs I liked that Ay-Hole hated, then they played a bunch of songs I hated that Ay-Hole liked,
tinyayholev1a Really? I thought they were from LA. They had an LA sound and looked like it.
tinyjunkheadv1a I checked their Facebook and they’ve just been hyping this show for two months.
tinyayholev1a The bass player had no presence on stage, unless you count his awfully mixed bass. When he switched to the bedazzled version the music became instantly listenable.
The guitar player’s main talent is noodling when not playing Rage Against the Machine.
tinyjunkheadv1a Singer looked and sounded like Jack Black doing a hair metal parody thing, but he was definitely entertaining.
After the show I bought their album on vinyl for ten bucks, and he seemed very disenchanted with life.
He didn’t have change.
tinyayholev1a He was entertaining. He was screaming as hard as he could the whole show, so he was probably in pain afterwards.
tinyjunkheadv1a No way bro, that guy could scream for ages.
tinyayholev1a That records great, btw. I’m upset I didn’t get one.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I thought you were going to. The first side’s pretty great, especially that grunge sounding song.
“Turbo Slut” rules.
We should review that bad boy next.
tinyayholev1a Since they’re local, I can pick one up later.
Also, the drummer plays with a sawed in half curtain rod that he just drops onto the drums from above his head.
tinyjunkheadv1a Hopefully our ten readers are local. I hope that dude sells more copies.
One thing that was weird is how he kept throwing empty LP sleeves into the crowd.
Anyway, Stryper. They played “Yahweh” and then they played some okay songs like “In God We Trust” and a bunch of covers.
tinyayholev1a “Heaven and Hell” was okay, but only because it’s a good song. I was kinda bored by the covers.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I rocked out to “Heaven and Hell” because Dio’s my boy.
I actually felt kind of sad afterwards because I never got to see Dio live, and when I finished and I realized I was staring at Stryper, it made me feel empty.
Then they played a Motley Crue cover.
tinyayholev1a I liked to hear their originals. I’m not a big cover fan, anyway. I’m not old enough.
tinyjunkheadv1a It was weird when Stryper followed up the three covers with an original and THEN played another cover.
Michael Sweet made a joke that Van Halen was from Detroit and everyone in the crowd looked really confused the entire song.
tinyayholev1a I didn’t get it.
I still don’t.
tinyjunkheadv1a Like any old person joke, it just wasn’t funny.
Although Sweet was killing it on the banter the rest of the show.
tinyayholev1a I’m sure it was SoCal humor. It was just too complex for our dumb rust belt brains.
tinyjunkheadv1a He told like eighty jokes and seventy-nine of them were funny.
tinyayholev1a A favorite of all was when he ridiculed those who waited “30 years” to see them.
tinyjunkheadv1a Funny stuff. They held off on playing the really, really awesome songs from my personal favorite, Soldiers Under Command until the end.
“Soldiers Under Command” followed by “Makes Me Wanna Sing” was a metal cream dream.
tinyayholev1a That was probably the highlight of the night. Out with a total explosion!
Planned encores are dumb, though. I would have just played them back to back.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, it was a long set in all honesty and the encore cheer was awful. The crowd needed a big finish though, and those two songs were it.
tinyayholev1a It was a horrible cheer. Some people were saying “One more song” some were saying “Stryper” and others were speaking in tongues.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s what you get for having a crowd where most are over fifty.
That’s probably what made you feel old.
tinyayholev1a I was really worn out after the show, too. It was very emotional. I kept thinking about how old they are and this could be my last chance to see them.
All of the 16 year olds that were drug along with their parents is what made me feel old.
They were super into it, however.
tinyjunkheadv1a No way. I was next to all of them and all they mustered was a polite head bob.
I wanted everyone climbing the walls and giving Stryper their muthafuckin’ just desserts.
I forgot, you were behind the kid who knew all the songs. There was an eighteen year old headbanger behind me who kept hitting me with his hair
He ruled.
tinyayholev1a You know that the only people who would climb up on stage were our age. This wasn’t the Portland riots, it was an 80’s metal concert. The people in the front probably got lost to get up there. They would probably need an escalator to get up onto the stage.
I wonder what old band brings in the oldest mosh pit.
tinyjunkheadv1a I still don’t believe the Portland riots exist. That’s how uncultured I am.
I’m just a junkhead.
tinyayholev1a I like thinking that a Glenn Miller cover band in Florida attracts a bunch of old dudes with walkers to punch each other in the everglades while old grandmas smoke joints and dye their hair.
tinyjunkheadv1a The Everglades riots.
tinyayholev1a Alligator fight dance
I’d give Stryper a 5/5. They played excellent. My ears are still ringing, however. I thought about giving it a 4/5 because of how much pain I was in.
tinyjunkheadv1a I couldn’t tell you were enjoying it.
tinyayholev1a I’m serious. I’ve been reading about earplugs all day.
tinyjunkheadv1a It wasn’t that loud for me. It probably was the most meaningful live show I’ve ever been to.
Like my life really came full circle from that cassette tape to St. Andrew’s Hall. A.
What about the opener?
Androids Anonymous? What the fuck is their name?
tinyayholev1a Artificial Agent. 3/5 with ear protection. And only again if the bass player uses the bedazzled bass.
tinyjunkheadv1a D+. Because they played five songs and I only liked the first two.
tinyayholev1a Then we went home and smashed several helpings of salsa and listened to their smashing 2015 album.
tinyjunkheadv1a I forgot about the salsa!
Ay-Hole brought over this salsa and I discovered that I had a jar of the exact same salsa in my fridge.
It was crazy.
tinyayholev1a So we ate all of it.
Then Junkhead collapsed on the floor and couldn’t get up to flip the record.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, I was pretty tuckered out.
Ay-hole’s rating:
Artificial Agent 3/5
Stryper 5/5

Junkhead’s rating:
Androids Anonymous D+
Stryper A

DIALOGUE MICRO-REQUEST-REVIEW SPECIAL!: Lidane Livering, Encyclopedia Frown, Randy and The RN’s

DIALOGUE MICRO-REQUEST-REVIEW SPECIAL!: Lidane Livering, Encyclopedia Frown, Randy and The RN’s

tinyjunkheadv1a We’re famous now! People request to be reviewed! Unfortunately, we’ve been slacking on this front for a while, but we’re finally going to sit down and check these out. The first one’s really old.
tinyayholev1a Also, it technically came out last year, but we’re just throwing it in. It’s part of a, uhh… series, and the last one came out in February.
tinyjunkheadv1a Evidently this band’s really old. They made some stuff at the turn of the millennium and they’re back by popular demand.
tinyayholev1a It’s basically a bunch of fuzz with random noise and vocal sampling for almost an hour.
tinyjunkheadv1a Some of the tracks have a beat. The last one’s kind of cool, but it’s just like an Atari 2600 song overtly distorted with some hand claps thrown in.
tinyayholev1a I was going to say track 6 is a cool one. It held my interest surprisingly long, almost half of all 8 minutes of it.
The first two are my least favorites, still.
tinyjunkheadv1a Track six sucks.
Moving on, there’s some great post punk from some other band.
Actually, I don’t like this either.
tinyayholev1a I liked it quite a bit. It took a while because the singer sounds like he’s having a hard time, but there are other bands with similar vocals but usually sound stupid.
Also, apparently Manila is the greatest density of people living over an entire city or something.
tinyjunkheadv1a The last two tracks do this thing where the guitar plays the same melody as the vocals.
That’s some Barney bullshit right there.
tinyayholev1a Musing to self: For some reason, guitar backing the vocal melody is one of Junkhead’s greatest peeves, but if that is true, I haven’t been able to figure out why he likes power pop…
tinyjunkheadv1a Normally they play chords and the vocal melody is different.
You don’t even listen to power pop.
tinyayholev1a Shots fired!
tinyjunkheadv1a You’re like Yosemite Sam lookin’ at all those bullet holes in your hat.
Anyway, a lot of early blues rock does that more than power pop.
Other early metal that was still blues influenced did that too, like Black Sabbath’s first two albums.
tinyayholev1a Yeah, the last two songs of Phantomwise have some cool melodies, but you are right, the verses suffer.
tinyjunkheadv1a The second track has like, no melody.
It’s this slow boring dirge where the singer sounds like he’s falling asleep.
tinyayholev1a I like it. It might be my favorite of the night.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s crazy.
tinyayholev1a It’s very immature sounding and almost retarded, qualities I enjoy thoroughly.
tinyjunkheadv1a This is probably the least passionate music I’ve listened to in a long time. Totally phoned in and trying to fit a style and so missing the mark.
tinyayholev1a Like, it tries too hard, then?
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, it would be trying too hard if it tried at all?
tinyayholev1a Like, it tries?
tinyjunkheadv1a It doesn’t.
tinyayholev1a No extra credit for Encyclopedia Frown. Go back to the cramped Pearl of the Orient!
tinyjunkheadv1a So I mean, what do you like about it? Since I’m burying these poor gentlemen who requested this review.
tinyayholev1a I do like the dragging apathy and uncooked writings. Really.
It’s not indifference, it’s disconcern.
tinyjunkheadv1a I have no idea what that means.
So my favorite’s Randy and the RN’s!
tinyayholev1a Second time this year on
I think I like this release a little better.
tinyjunkheadv1a I think the vocals are pushed too far up in the mix, it’s a little too obviously cheap digital stuff. But the songs are just as good, a lot more aggressive and fun.
tinyayholev1a There is a large amount of digital distortion. The first time I listened I was almost too appalled to give it a chance, but the poppyness is very appetizing.
tinyjunkheadv1a The sounds also kind of all over the place, like almost all the songs were recorded with totally different setups. I really like “Waiting for the Summer”, slow, loud, and pure pop is always a great thing.
tinyayholev1a Case in point, guitar backed vocals.
tinyjunkheadv1a I was waiting for that. But y’know, sometimes people are good enough songwriters that they don’t suck. I think Randy (if that’s his real name) has a really good knack for hooks. “Break Yer Heart” he just sings along with the guitar the whole time, but its amazing pop-punk.
tinyayholev1a I think the melody itself has to be sing-songy, otherwise it will sound like a double scoop of turd. RANDY SPIKE knows how to clean up a melody and add some spicy and sincere rhymes.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, Randy never sounds like a pretentious twerp. He’s like a rock ‘n’ roll Everyman. It’s also refreshing he knows how to get in, make a statement, and get out. “Suicidal Highway” is less than two minutes and covers more ground than most supposed pop auteurs could ever muster.
tinyayholev1a I would love to hear a whole succinct album from him. I do not know if he ever stuck to one style in the past.
tinyjunkheadv1a Sounds like he just does whatever the hell he wants.
tinyayholev1a That must be where the magic is.
Definitely one of my favorite musicians out of New York.
tinyjunkheadv1a I’m going to invite him to the Blah Blah Music Christmas bash.
tinyayholev1a I can’t wait to find out about that.
tinyjunkheadv1a We’ll request a three hour version of “Kombucha Kids”.
tinyayholev1a That’s the song that sounds like he recorded it three years ago in the back of a van while driving up the Rocky Mountains.
tinyjunkheadv1a That’s actually very similar to the Christmas bash’s setting.
tinyayholev1a In a van tumbling sideways down the Rocky Mountains.



Forsaken by Lidane Livering: 2/5 because it was mildly entertaining. Maybe I’m not cultured enough for it…
Phantomwise by Encyclopedia Frown: 3/5 because I wouldn’t turn it off if it came on.
Wish You Were Weird by Randy and The RN’s: 4/5 because it represents a crisp finished project with all of its un-sanded edges confidently sticking out.


Forsaken by Lidane Livering: I give it a C-. There should have been more beats.
Phantomwise by Encyclopedia Frown: F. My washing machine sounds more interesting.
Wish You Were Weird by Randy and The RN’s: B+! This guy has legit talent. If our blog was read by millions of people, millions of people would love him.

Forsaken by Lidane Livering

Phantomwise by Encyclopedia Frown

Wish You Were Weird by Randy and The RN’s

Satan/Cauldron – Small’s 10/27/16

Satan/Cauldron – Small’s 10/27/16

tinyayholev1a Do you really think we can do it in an hour?
tinyjunkheadv1a A half hour. And yeah.
tinyayholev1a That’s what I typed. But it didn’t come out
tinyjunkheadv1a So are you okay to?
tinyayholev1a Okay.
tinyjunkheadv1a Alright. You can start it. Just talk about how you convinced me to go.
tinyayholev1a The day before the concert, Junkhead and I and our significants were sitting somewhere when someone asked if we were going to the concert. I said, “J doesn’t want to go because he’s going to be tired tomorrow.” But after I repeated that it was only $16 bucks and C and M could hang together, Junkhead became suddenly excited.
tinyjunkheadv1a C said she’d pay for my ticket, so the prospect got infinitely more exciting. Honestly, the events leading to the show also turned me off: Ay-hole was really excited to show up early, but we were locked out because the bands were sound-checking.
And it was cold.
tinyayholev1a Every time I am late to a concert, the opening band ends up going on early and being the band I actually wanted to see. This time my luck worked against us and Junkhead was stuck in whine mode for at least an hour.
tinyjunkheadv1a We were the only people near the stage area for about that amount of time, so I whined my ass off. The first band didn’t help brighten the mood either, with Coven 13 blowing all over the place.
tinyayholev1a Coven 13 started at 8:47 with their one song that featured a face melting solo, only the guitarist broke his string at the beginning of it.I was anticipating “Thor’s Twins” being the most exciting song, however, I was disappointed.
tinyjunkheadv1a That opening song sucked. The second one, “Ruler”, was really cool, but Andy hated it. “RULER/RULER/OF THE WASTELAND/RULER/RULER”.
tinyayholev1a I can’t put my finger on it, but it felt lazy. I liked the third song, which is unpronoucable but sounded like a Castlevania song. Then every song sucked. The whole band was lazy.
tinyjunkheadv1a The singer in particular looked like he was bored of the audience, really.
tinyayholev1a I’d give Coven 13 a 2/5, because I would probably avoid them at a show. Maybe they were just mad they weren’t going to be at Covenfest the next day. I’d be pretty sour about that, too.
tinyjunkheadv1a Ay-hole was really into the idea that Coven was playing another show called Covenfest the next day, but they’re wholly unrelated. The next band, Destructor, was crazy. The sound guy had to tell the vocalist/rhythm guitarist three times that he had to turn his amp down.
tinyayholev1a From the second they began to play, I was unable to take any pictures because I could not stop headbanging and air guitaring. The lead guitarist, a guy they we met before we went in, had to jump in the car and speed back to Cleveland so he could be at work at 5:30 the next morning, so he made sure to wake us all up with his through the roof energy.
tinyjunkheadv1a He was really good at shredding. Definitely the best guitarist in the building that night.
tinyayholev1a One could tell simply by the set list that Destructor is a good show. Too bad their album sucks. It might win worst recorded/best writing category for 2016.
tinyjunkheadv1a They played a whirlwind thrash set, three songs in a row with no stops followed by another three songs in a row. The first set was definitely better, with breakneck speeds and nothing else. After a little banter, they played some shitty power metal song that was saved by speed and shreds. I’d give them a B+.
tinyayholev1a What are you going to give Coven 13?
tinyjunkheadv1a D. As an educator by trade, I have a lot of faith in the letter grade system.
tinyayholev1a I’ll give Destructor a 4/5. I’ll have to get into their music more. Maybe next time their in town I’ll have a shirt and be part of the fan club or something.
tinyjunkheadv1a Like you said, their 2016 album sucked. Just a victim of terrible production. Strictly a live thing for me. Cauldron’s studio album, however, was something Ay-hole had to grab on vinyl.
tinyayholev1a Well, the reason we went to this show, anyway, was so we could see Cauldron. I missed them when they were at the Tolken Lounge. First impression, the bass player/singer, Decay, seemed tired and indifferent.
tinyjunkheadv1a For real. The whole performance lacked enthusiasm, like he was sick or tired. Fans were excited for older tracks, but we were excited about newer ones.
tinyayholev1a They did play “Empress” and “Burning at Both Ends,” which were pretty good and we were super hyped about that, but “No Return” sounded toilsome.
tinyjunkheadv1a There was a lot of toil for sure. “Miss You To Death” was the standout for me, although it’s the only thing in their repertoire that sounds like a straight AC/DC song.
tinyayholev1a To be fair, my neck hurt after Destructor and “Burning at Both Ends,” and their was that annoying fat mosher in a Judas Priest shirt that was inches close to loosing vision in his eye due to my elbow, so I could have just been preocupied. But the later thrashy songs really held the attention of the crowd well.
tinyjunkheadv1a The skullet guitar dude was really cool after the show. We took the picture above with them, and then I started talking about his Angel Witch shirt. He was surprised I didn’t like the first album and liked the mid-80s ones, but seemed especially confused when I started talking about how cool Praying Mantis was.
tinyayholev1a I complimented Decay’s Chain Reaction shirt, then Junkhead says to the guitarist, Chains, “You got a cool shirt, too. That album sucks.” And they became besties.
tinyjunkheadv1a Readers will always get stories in reverse when Blah Blah Music comes to town. So we went back to the stage area and started questioning whether we cared about the headliner, Satan.
tinyayholev1a They took forever to set up. It seemed like there was more groupies helping than all the members of the bands history, which is saying something because I believe only the lead singer was remaining from the original line up.
tinyjunkheadv1a I mean, everyone was old except the lead guitarist, so I dunno. Evidently both guitarists were original members.
tinyayholev1a I am corrected. I thought the lead guitarist was a lady. I’m still not sure. Interestingly enough, Satan was the oldest act on the stage that night, and Cauldron the youngest.
tinyjunkheadv1a Every band started in the ’80s except Cauldron. Coven 13 is the only band that had all of it’s original members. We’re avoiding talking about Satan’s music because they sucked so we left.
tinyayholev1a It was terrible. I was hoping it was going to either get worse or better and it did indeed get worse. One song was some high pitch droning and low ostinato fart bass for minutes on end. It was like a Sun O record skipping.

I think we always make sucky things sound better when we describe how we really feel about them.

tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, that’s an insult to a Sunn O record skipping dude. So Andy dropped his rubiks cube so we had to go back and find a piece of it, then we bought groceries. Then we went back to my house and drank for like an hour and talked about all of the things we said in the review.
tinyayholev1a My two memorable moments: Junkhead complaining for an hour non stop even during the show because he was cold, and Junkhead getting the cold shoulder from a girl with green hair because her boyfriend started poking her for attention.
tinyjunkheadv1a I was bored of whining at Andy so I tried to talk to someone else, but she thought I was a creeper even though I was just talking about my girlfriend’s hair most of the time. My favorite moment was talking about music with the guitarist from Cauldron and whining at Andy for an hour because I was cold.
tinyayholev1a The whole night I give a 5/5, cause I would do it again in a heartbeat.
tinyjunkheadv1a Yeah, A+. Are we ever going to end this thing?
tinyayholev1a That’s it. I guess.



Coven 13: 2/5
Destructor: 4/5
Cauldron: 4/5 (because I still enjoyed their music to feel like I had a good time)
Satan: 1/5


Coven 13: D
Destructor: B+
Cauldron: B-
Satan: F

Apoptygma Berzerk – Exit Popularity Contest

junkheadv1tmbApoptygma Berzerk – Exit Popularity Contest

After selling out in a big way with their two alt/pop/rock albums from the late 2000s, Apoptygma Berzerk imploded. Currently sole member Stephan Groth disappeared, occasionally releasing vinyl EPs that no one in America will ever hear without dropping fifteen bucks on shipping. Exit Popularity Contest is the end result of these years of obscurity. Free from the tyrannical grasp of Sony Music GmbH and any sort of major mainstream aspirations, perhaps Stephan’s on the verge of a synth-laden classic?

About ten minutes in and you’ve uncovered the answer: Exit Popularity Contest is less the future of electronic music and more like old Kraftwerk. And by old, I mean they excavated this shit from King Tut’s tomb. All of the tracks are instrumental, with slow, chill melodies overlapping repetitive pulses. It’s so sparse and stripped back that there’s really not a lot to say.

So I won’t. This album’s boring and Stephan’s vocals are relegated to a “remix” thrown at the end of the album. To me, it just seems like a lazy way to score coke.


Hardline – Human Nature

junkheadv1tmbHardline – Human Nature

Has there ever been a pop/rock album so obsessed with the end of the world? The epic to the breaking point production coupled with loss-filled lyrics all create this sense that everything is crumbling down in a beautiful mess of roaring guitars and soaring vocals.

This enormous apocalyptic tone runs throughout the album. Lines like “Repent/Repent/You’ll never be forgiven/The world is falling down” and “Where are we going now/Where’s the future of mankind” have a bizarre, paranoid feel that just keeps compounding as the album continues. Any power ballad that says “Burn the sky of Earth/We thought the end was just a fear/A thought of this end never felt near” is for sure conjuring images of a world splintering into pieces.

Adding to this atmosphere are the gargantuan riffs, with over half the tracks recalling straightforward heavy metal over the big AOR-infused sound normally associated with Hardline. “Where Will We Go From Here”, “Where the North Wind Blows”, “The World is Falling Down, and “Running on Empty” are like monster trucks careening down the highway at 100 miles an hour, a distinct switch from the soccer mom coming-of-age SUV ballads tucked away on Danger Zone, the band’s last album.

As with that release, all around cool guy Alessandro Del Vecchio returns to produce and write the majority of songs, but he definitely is taking a new approach. Perhaps after writing and producing Ted Poley’s ultra upbeat solo album earlier this year (which I gave an A-), Vecchio decided to take more influence from the Book of Revelations this time around. It’s the kind of style lead singer Johnny Gioeli is accustomed to through the Axel Rudi Pell band, yet there’s still a very pronounced melodic rock flair that keeps everything positive, lifting you up while the walls are coming down.

There’s only one ballad at around the halfway point, a brief reprieve that goes for the traditional almost losing the one you love bit. The key word is almost: the verse’s are all sadness and loss, but the “Whoa-oa-oa-oa/Love is gonna take you home/To me” chorus is calling us all back from the destruction and raising us up with the gorgeously delicate piano chord arrangement.

That’s probably what makes the album so palatable, through music and lyrics so focused on the end but looking forward to a new rebirth. For every line of doom and gloom, there’s always a “Here we are, blood thick as stone/We have our dreams to chase that goal” ready to balance everything. That’s probably why the cover’s that silly Yin and Yang thing on fire: every generation always feels like we’re on the brink of death, but we all come out bruised, battered, but stronger than before. Actually, a lot of us just end up confused and in the mental hospital, but for generally sound people like Vecchio, Gioeli, and Junkhead Josh, I think the album’s message will ring true.



The Devin Townsend Project – Transcendence
While shoving loose change into coin wrappers, I put on the Devin Townsend Project’s new album, Transcendence. While I sort the change on my floor, I contemplate ideas such as life, death, and the possibility that one could make a business out of sorting money.

Townsend’s albums are very structured. First, a topic is selected and preferably a term from new age spirituality. Then, two chords are selected. These two chords are extrapolated into as many combinations as possible. All one of the combinations are played over and over again with a building symphonic orchestration in the background with shouting chorus. On occasion, a diminished harmony is used, such as a 7th chord.

In letting the screaming angels featured in semi-absolutism songs, such as “Truth,” and “Failure,” one is sent on a rigorous mental journey through simple philosophical concepts turned ambiguous. In “Higher,” one is taken up to the top of the spiritual spectrum, then told that there is a level higher, foregoing the previous conclusion. In “Stars,” one might think that Townsend might believe that the spiritual and physical worlds are in some way related, but one might also wonder how transcendence ties in to this.
The title track in question is only six seconds shy of six minutes long. It also features super alt rock style lyrics that go absolutely nowhere. The greatest line on the album or perhaps in all of Townsend’s repertoire is featured at the end of the track:
“Who transcends this?
I do
Do you transcend this?
Who transcends this?
I do
Do you transcend?”

This stuff is amorphous enough to not bother me. Townsend will say one thing, then two lines later say something entirely in contrast. This is the kind of psychobabble I can appreciate. However, the music is ultra-repetitive. One could drop a needle on 90% of the album and not know which track it is. This is a plus and a minus, of course, but after seven, eight, and nine minute songs, this entire album turns into background music of the most organized sort.

So, after questioning my ability to provide for myself, I am back where I started gathering bottles and cans to take to Kroger. They have the fastest bottle scanners. Transcendence is more of a lucid dream than a vision quest.


Assemblage 23 – Small’s 10/6/16


junkheadv1tmbAssemblage 23 – Small’s 10/6/16

Electronic acts are cool because dancing is encouraged, so even the biggest dipshit on the planet will start shaking their ass. Throughout this show, I was amazed at the variety of styles: the couple near the stage dry humped all night, the bald guys with VNV Nation shirts threw their limbs around wildly, and the woman in front of me danced like a soccer mom. In the closing minutes of the show, one woman came up wagging her hips and wiggling her right hand like some sort of wild hundred-years-too-late flapper chick.

The actual acts weren’t always as entertaining, specifically the opener Ghost Synthesis. A DJ who’s beyond all over the place, it’s a grotesque amalgamation of EBM, dubstep, and pop music that made me want to hurl. There’d be a cool gothic/industrial section for a couple minutes, but it would almost always be followed by synth pop with pre-recorded vocals playing. I don’t think anyone danced at all except for this side-shaved chick up front. He tried to actually play synths at different points, but in true DJ style, most of his time was spent checking his Twitter feed on the laptop.

Voicecoil was infinitely better. The front man donned sunglasses and a suit, looking like some sort of synth-pop superstar. This is the only band that actually had a guitarist, but the girl at the laptop was much louder. Still, the music was perfect for the crowd: a sugary take on the futurepop mold, with all the block-rocking aspects of synthpop in the red throughout. Somehow, the band and audience both lost a lot of energy in the last couple of songs, but I was still impressed.

After a short reprieve, Assemblage 23 took the stage. Aside from sole member Tom Shear, the touring act included a middle aged guy at a laptop/synth setup and a younger drummer who smiled the entire show. These two stepped out first, playing an instrumental track to warm up the crowd. Shear took the stage like a bat out of hell, grabbing the microphone and kicking into the second track, “After”. After this, the band played some old favorites, with everyone dancing or Snapchatting their heads off.

From the concert alone, one can view Assemblage 23 as sort of an EBM version of Depeche Mode: like Depeche Mode, the melodies and atmosphere take precedence over all else, and they do a great job balancing slower tracks and faster uptempo boombox breakers. Just when the crowd would get tired from pounding their heads or shaking their butts, the band put on a slower sway type song, giving everyone a minute to take a breath.

This was pretty important considering that the band went on for almost TWO HOURS! They literally played twenty songs, the majority of them being upbeat rockers. Two encores were played, although Shear blurted that he didn’t feel like getting off stage so everyone should just yell really loud so they can just play some more. The first encore got everyone’s blood pumping, but the second was literally putting me to sleep. I swayed and closed my eyes and thought I was going to pass out. A lot of people left at this point.

After all the smoke cleared, I was pretty happy with my experience. I hope when I’m 44 that I can rock out for two hours straight.

Ghost Synthesis: F

Voicecoil: B

Assemblage 23: B+



ayholev1tmbPaper Route – Real Emotion

Paper Route has finally released their third album. A double LP, Real Emotion features an unasked for plethora of unattractively long songs. The average song length is about 3 and a half minutes, and 4 tracks are just short fillers.

This could be a bummer for some of us who were hoping they would turn up the bpm. The faster songs had more energy and sustenance to them, whereas the slower songs, especially the slow songs on Real Emotion, drag.

There is also a focus on vocal melodies. Nothing new but one might feel it distracts from melody writing, which is definitely a fascination for Chad Howat and friends.

“Mona Lisa” is a good dance tune that should be a single and “Second Place” is a good classic throwback early 2000’s synth-rock song but the short songs are short and sweet, except the intro. The intro is dumb, but do not blame the intro for being dumb. Intros are almost always dumb. “Love is Red” is great and is the longest of the short songs at two and a half minutes.

I want to take a paragraph to talk about “Zhivago.” “Dr. Zhivago” is a film from 1965 with an amazing soundtrack. I got it for 50c on the discount vinyl rack last week. “Zhivago” track 12 from Real Emotion is prefaced by “Lara,” which already interludes into the song with the entire melody. By the time one finishes “Lara,” two thoughts surface: “Ah, that was a short one,” and “The melody was kind of boring.” The listener is then bombarded by a faster and more electronic three minutes of the same melody with very very little exposition.

If almost a full hour of music was not enough, Real Emotion also features the last four singles, “Zhivago” being one. Apparently the band really liked the singles, but did not want to release them as an EP, even though they already are an EP band with more EP’s then you can count on one hand if you lost a finger in an electrical accident at a gig you played at in that ghetto “café.”

I first saw Paper Route¬¬ in 2012ish with Switchfoot. I did not enjoy Switchfoot as much, but that was because I had seen them half a dozen times and all they played at this show was their crappy newer songs that sell millions of records. I was pleasantly surprised by Paper Route who really were doing something different. Really, they started too early and haven’t progressed very much. They seem to be just catching up to the unpredictable and meandering pop music, which changes awkwardly and doubles back again. If Paper Route keeps it up and maybe releases more albums instead of singles then they might fall out of obscurity. They could go any direction, really.



In Limbo –
It was hot outside. The weather in September is always hot, usually after a cold front in late August to begin the color change. Wearing shorts and t-shirts, M and I were headed into the entrails of Detroit, to St Andrews Hall, a seed of hate and discourse for venue goers.
Assaulted by short and yelling black men waiving orange flags, cars will drive slowly with two tires in each lane and gaping maw. Upon turning into one parking lot with a large “$7 parking” sign after asking the attendant, “Is it seven today?” and the attendant replies, “Yes,” patrons will be disappointed to discover that parking is $10 and that the previous exchange was a “misunderstanding.”
I asked if I could cross the DMZ to get into the box office and the ten+ employees all looked at me. I left and came back on the other side of the riot gates to ask if I could go buy a ticket and one of them seemed to understand I wanted to give them my money. I had previously been informed that I only had one ticket because the venue rep brought an odd number to Stormy Records on record store day, a day I will from now until eternity be sure to take a vacation day for.
The lady at the ticket booth dropped my change on the ground and moved the trash can, computer, and shelving unit until she found all eight dollars. I was very glad I could save twelve-fifty by not buying from…
Dead Nation! lolmirite!!!

I just had to make it through an hour of standing around, wishing I would have spent $8 on a can of beer and that I had brought a fur coat since the A/C was blasting out of control. Who likes being frozen solid while being forced to stand in place for hours at a time? Apparently, St Andrews Hall attendees do and the conversation was typical. “I’ve been waiting 20 years to see these guys,” “I’ve been listening to these guys since before they broke up,” “I missed them last time they came through.” All of these statements were true for a change, though I expect this is becoming a more common experience since so many old bands seem to be getting back together. Perhaps a good retirement plan is releasing some albums under a pseudonym, having a dramatic breakup, then announcing a reunion tour decades later.
Tamaryn was up first. The early stuff is very shoegazy and great, but the performance was sort of cross-over synthwave dance music with super dominant guitar fuzz and an exceedingly loud kick drum and plunky bass. The set up to the drum track was Tamaryn on vox, a guitar guy who must have come from a Pacific Sunwear catalogue shoot, and a bass player. It was still good, but only the 2nd and 3rd songs were my fancy. The rest all had much less energy and were very redundant feeling. The best part of the performance was this black guy in underwear and a windbreaker that was twerking and gyrating all over the stage for several songs.
After Tamaryn, an army of stage crew came out and tore down for many moons. Then more crew came out to set up for Lush. Set up felt like it lasted about 45 minutes and they started playing at about 9:20.

thesetlistHere it was, after decades of waiting, watching insanely overpriced vinyl, listening intently to each note, watching rips of tapes and shows, all of us wanting so badly to be back in early 90’s UK; four musical talents with an average age of 49 were entertaining hundreds of blokes who refused to leave the past in the dust, dragging in tow significant others who do not quite detest whatever genre of music this is.
No songs went into the next. They were each divided by applause, silence, and usually a guitar swap. Sometimes there would be a guitar swap for one song, then a swap back for the next. Sometimes there was two guitars being swapped at the same time. Luckily for everyone involved, the swaps were all smooth and quick. It would have been nice for at least some of the energy of one song to bleed into the next.

All of the songs I wanted to hear were played and they were all glorious. “Light From a Dead Star” was the only song I had to hear or I would wreak the place, but hearing “For Love” and “Thoughtforms” was very pleasant. The new tracks off of the EP were much better than the EP itself. I gave the EP another listen to the next day and was equally disappointed with the recordings as last time. They turned out to be good live songs, though the only tracks played live were just one side of the ep.

After the main set, the main stage hand came out and tuned Anderson’s guitar. The no surprise encore featured three songs. Then the band left again, but there was suspicion of another encore. The suspicion was the stage hand bringing out a guitar and setting it on a stand. Also, King was standing around back stage. After minutes of crowd enthusiasm, Lush came back on for one last song.
Berenyi’s vocals were great. She only seemed to strain on one song. Anderson had no difficulties at all. Welch seemed to drop the beat a couple of times, but not enough for anyone to notice if they weren’t intimate with either live music or the recordings. King on bass was present and invisible.

I sat on this review for a couple of weeks, mostly because I was lazy, but also because I was nervous. I do not want my musical tastes to become dated, because to do so is to admit that music is changing and I am not changing fast enough. This band played music when I was in middle school. I did not know I enjoyed music until much later in life and I did not have a clue about the impressions it left on me until even later when really digging into shoegaze. No one is getting younger. Music continues to flow. Fusion entropies genres into the great homogenous white light. Soon, not only shoegazers, but also normies, junkies, and flunkies will all be listening to the same sin waves. But that’s what we were saying in 96.
Well, I was still eating my boogers.
5/5 duh