Saturday, January 29, 2011

MadAve Benefit Show and Chili Cook Off announced + Blog Update

The people of MadAve in Lincoln are have a benefit show and chili cook off Sat., Feb, 5th.  Bands playing are:  Vickers, Bent Life, Dope Pope, Feral Hands, and Diamonds R 4eva.  Here is the flier, email me for further details.

In blog news, polls are closed and the people have spoken!  It appears that that new design will remain.  Thank you for voting.  In other blog news, I have been unproductive due to sickness for the last week.  I have seen the doctor a couple days ago and I appear to be getting better, so I'll soon be attending shows shortly, and have a new photo update soon.  All works on my projects have been stalled due to being bedridden away from my "work" computer.  Expect to see a detailed update on all my projects in the few days.  Peace.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Local Spotlight - Jay Bacon of Cordial Spew

"We play for the people who show up and for the energy they give.. That's more than enough reason."
-Jay Bacon

Cordial Spew from Omaha have the honor of being the oldest hardcore punk band in the state of Nebraska.  However, their band trajectory is something unique compared to most bands in that they went on a hiatus for over 20 years before returning to the scene stronger than ever.  With speeds akin to early Agnostic Front accompanied with tasteful guitar shreds and a touch of classic skate rock, Cordial Spew bring a fun and authentic feel to old-school hardcore punk.  I was fortunate enough to catch up with Cordial Spew's vocalist, Jay Bacon to talk about the past, present and future of the band.  Jay has also been a cornerstone in scene since being active in a band by helping run the local all ages punk venue The Hole.  Plus, he's just an all around nice guy.  Here is the interview, enjoy.

What are the beginnings of Cordial Spew?
Three juvenile delinquents that met in AA... Approx. sept.1985.. Jack Hawk, Kevin Mclay and Myself.. met at the Big Boy pancake house on 31st and Farnam.. They asked me to come to a band practice with them and I screamed into a Boom box Mic for our first recording.. Our first drummer Bob, waited till we were done to actually start drumming.. Shit was funny as hell... Kevin found drummer Conrad Hinz at a teen night club.. He could actually play drums... so he was in... Conrad heard about Bryan Gumm "Gumby"and he was easily the talent of our crew so the band was formed. We practiced about 6 months with people steadily coming to Kev's basement to watch us.. And our first show was to about 400 people.. It was called The "Freeze" benefit.. Due to Americans being consumed with Nuclear arms back then.. And that fuckbag Reagan.
Photo courtesy of Chris Ventura

What is the "new" history of the band?  How did it happen?
About October of 2007 I had a cd made of our first three recordings since Kevin gave the cassette's to me a year earlier..I was in contact with Conrad because we skated together. We (Kev,Conrad and myself) met for a cup of coffee downtown and talked about jamming together.. a day or so later I get a call from Jack Hawk saying an old friend Tim Cox was putting together a reunion show in memory of our old friends, Jack Had Bryan's number and we all met at the Now missing 49'r to talk.. We shared old pic's and stories and committed to playing the reunion show March 29th 2008.. Practice was a riot because we barely remembered the songs...At the Sold out Reunion show we started our set with the song "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb.. and rolled into C-86. " The actual video on You tube" That's when the pit exploded and we were once again hooked on playing..  Family and personal issues has us playing with new members that are actually old friends that saw us play in the old days.  Jeff Decker, Jason Rice and Doug Decker have been with us for more than 2 years..

What was the punk scene like in Omaha in the late 80's?  And how does it compare to how things are now.  Better or worse?
Difficult to describe..but here goes.. Punk rock and Hardcore kids found each other at actual shows. We were fortunate to play with some amazing acts. NOFX, Descendents, SNFU, Beyond Possession, Verbal Assault, BGK, Ludichrist, Legal Weapon, Capital Punishment,Toxic Reasons, MDC to name some..But the best part of the old scene was the same as now.. The People...  The parties, gatherings, and shows we went to.. and Since you had to actually write or call bands to get them here, People came out... always... That shit was special... A family of like minded individuals... But I see some of that these days too.. a little too fragmented in my opinion.. Still great...But that is what comes with many choices and "The INTERNETS" Yeah... Fuck Bush Too... The new basement dwellers are still fun for me to watch.. I remember how great it was for me in the old scene by watching today's people.. Still a great bunch of insecure kids finding their path.. Just like I was... Makes doing this whole thing worth it..

What is the biggest difference between writing a Cordial Spew song in '86 compared to writing in '11?

Song writing is different.. Old days' Angry and very personal lyrics... These days, mostly observant and angry opinionated type lyrics.. Or something stupid..

Would you say you are more punk or less punk comparing now to then?

Hmmmmm.. What is Punk??? In prison it's a bad thing, In the real world it is sold as currency.. And we don't fit either of those. So... I am gonna stand on  "Omaha's Oldest Hardcore Band" and Live with that.. But we are definitely more soft around the middle now.. So Less punk is my final answer..

What inspires you to write new material and play out as often as you guys do?
We play for the people who show up and for the energy they give.. That's more than enough reason.

What can you tell me about the new demo songs?  New cd out soon?  Shows?
The Cd is still being worked on..Doug Is the recording engineer so we record when it suits us..No hurry man.. It's not like we are trying to make it big or something.. The disc will have most everything we have including new tracks that have not been played in public.

What is your relationship to The Hole?  And what is the current status of the venue? 
The Hole is still open and It's being run by my friends, I help when needed as opposed to killing myself to keep it running..  Donny and I started it for this town and the scene and I hope we can keep it for a long time. It needs support to live..Just like anything.

Do you guys listen to any current punk bands?  If so list a few that you feel are noteworthy.  Any local bands worth a shit?

Yeah, I listen to locals more than touring bands by far.. But to just sit and listen to records at my house takes an act of God.... The things in life that matter most to me usually get in the way of my listening.  Mostly in my car going places.. And I dig most of the bands we have played with.. I hate when bands separate too.. or quit.. But that is the nature of an ever changing world.. You open your eyes to the next opportunity.

You are on a desert island with one album, what is the album?  Why?

One album??? That sucks..  But I will go with.. "London Calling" by The Clash. Because without it.. I wouldn't even know you man!

Are BMW convertibles punk?

Hmmm.. What is punk is walking on two feet.. But fuck that!  And the M3 is too fun to not drive so... Call me a Poseur!!!

Any final shoutouts and or rants? 

Shout out to Omaha and Lincoln no to mention Keith McX..for helping to keep hardcore music alive.. It is the last true upheaval in modern music.. If you think anything truly new has come around since Hardcore then I would like to hear what you think it is... So.."growing up" is not required when applied to Hardcore.  Let it
run through you and it will always give it's energy back..  I am living proof.    Jay B.

Monday, January 17, 2011

"An individual...

...has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rant - Devil Imagery Isn't Scary

Sometime within the last 5 years or so, I have been seeing a surgence of devil and evil imagery in the artwork and sometimes lyrical content of punk and hardcore bands (note: I didn't mention metal).  I have quite a few reasons why I think this is a quite stupid way to express your band or your art.  Chances are you aren't evil, not one bit nor ever were.  It's not too uncommon to see bands with inverted crosses on their album art, then when you see them live what do you get?  Oh wow, middle class kids.  Shocking.  But you say:
   "Hey!  I have lots of books on the occult and it's something you'd never understand anyways!"
That's fine, you can be into whatever you like.  However, of all the things you can scream and be pissed about in the world you choose to express darkness and evilness.  Yawn.  I find the promotion of evilness almost as lame as promoting religious faiths through punk or hardcore music.  Others might argue:
    "Hey!  It's just an aesthetic anyway man, don''t take it so seriously!"
The whole use of devil imagery to shock people isn't anything new, or fresh, or anything interesting.  All the dinosaur bands your parents grew up on started  a lot of it.  Sympathy For The Devil, man!  If you are playing dress up for the show performance, you are just doing that.  Will this trend end anytime soon?  Probably not.  We seem to be living in times where style and appearance is much more regarded than substance, and maybe the punk and hardcore bands are just a reflection of these times.  I would like to think that eventually, everyone will tire of it and move unto something much more interesting. 

What do you think of devil and evil imagery being portrayed in punk and hardcore music?  Do you like it?  Hate it?  Does it appeal to you in some sort of way?  If so, how and why?  Does it even matter?  Let me know, and comment below.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Polls Are In! + Update

After 6 weeks of open polls, the results are in.  I would like to thank everyone who took the time to vote.   The readers of Crucial Changes have voted for more Local Spotlights.  I will follow thorough with such requests with a new Local Spotlight before months end.  Who will the band be?  You'll just have to wait and see.  Coming in a not so distant 2nd was Local Scene Reports.  These are normally done Quarterly, but maybe I can pick that up a little bit in the coming months.  Travel Stories, Record Reviews, and Rants/Raves all finished basically 3rd on the list collectively and respectfully.  I'm almost positive that there will be a show that I'll want to travel for early on this year, and Record Reviews I'm still on the fence for.  I would like to do reviews, however I am afraid of neglecting to post them after a few months.  Rants and Raves however, I would like to up the posts on in the near future.  What is important to you in the hardcore scene where you live?  Is there even a hardcore scene?  What bands should be getting attention?  What bands shouldn't?  Let me know and leave a comment.   

In other news here at the CCHQ, things are moving quickly behind the scenes for my next project of a cd-r comp featuring some of my favorite local underground punk and noise acts.  The band submissions were greater than I expected and it's taking some time to decide what bands will be featured on the comp.  As of right now it looks like there will be an equal number of punk and noise bands, and maybe even a surprise or two.  Expect to see a mock up of the cover art within the next couple of weeks.  Once all the deigning is done, things will quickly move into place and I'm looking at a date some time in Feb. for the first batch of cd-r's.  I would also like to have my 3rd zine ready at the same time.  All further updates on any projects related to Crucial Changes will be updated as they happen right here on the blog.  

Winter shows are really starting to pick up around here, so expect to see some photo updates in the near future.  That is all I have for right now, comment freely.  Peace.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Favorite punk and hardcore releases of 2010 - Top 15

Welcome to my annual year end list for my favorite punk and hardcore albums that were released within the last 12 months.  Please note that my selections are not in any way in a particular order.  I would also like to note that these are releases that I have bought and own.  I have been listening and re-listening to everything that I bought this year and I have it narrowed down to the following releases:


Double Negative - Daydream Nation 12"  (Sorry State)

 There have been talks about this albums release for maybe a year before it finally saw the light of day.  These guys are no stranger to my year end picks and here is why:  consistency.   I  don't think these guys (with their musical background) could ever write a bad song.  Double Negative keep the fast punk hardcore speeds rolling throughout this 13 song 12".  Lots a good variety with the vocal styles ranging from shouts to semi-sung choruses bring some fresh elements to the band, plus lots of interesting riffs thrown around make listening to this 12" exciting.  Side B is quite a different monster.  From the first track comes a huge bl'ast of noise riffs on the guitar that pretty much set the vibe for the remainder of the album.  A little more experimentation with the vocals more muffled here.  Are each side from two different recording sessions?  I doesn't matter, this is a good 12", pick it up.  Crazy album artwork is just as funny as the crazy album title.

The Men - Immaculada  (self released)

The Men from Brooklyn have been quite a busy band as far as output goes for 2010 with 2 tapes and this long player.  From the opening notes of the "organ" sounds of the first song, you know that you are in for something different here.  The Men play punk in style that borrows a lot from more non-punk music styles:  noise, drone, and even grunge.  The vocals are really distorted with the reverb, but it ads to what the band is going for sound wise.  Side 1 is the more hardcore of the two with mostly mid paced punk with one song that is a bit too fast to be held up and gets a bit blurry.  However, the variety of the other songs keep my interest.  Side 2 throws a bit of a curve that sounds more like a mid-90's grungy, shoegaze experiment than hardcore.  The singing style here could be a bit better, but the songwriting is great.  Check this lp out if you are looking for something different, yet still punk.  Creative, excellent.

Nomos - Notes From The Acheron   1 sided 12"  (Deranged)

Brooklyn's Nomos bring fourth their first true release this year and it rules.  Nomos picks up right where the demo left off, playing fast hardcore punk that is ferocious and mean.  Drawing from a sound palate of that akin to lp-era Citizens Arrest maybe a little Negative Approach with the vocal venom.  Nomos blast though 6 songs in about 8 minutes leaving you wanting more.  The production values are a bit lo-fi, but it works well with this style of hardcore.  My only complaint is that I hate shelling out lp prices for songs that could have fit on 1 side of a 7".  Oh well, I like it and it comes with a nifty fold out poster.

Drunkdriver - S/T  (self released)

After some inner band strife, Drunkdriver from Brooklyn released what would be their final slab of music for the masses.  Drunkdriver in recent years have gains somewhat of a cult following from punk and non-punk alike with their brand of over the top noise rock and intense live shows.  Continuing in the style that they are noted for, Drunkdriver bring an lp that is more like their previous, more controlled 7" from last year compared to their insane over the top previous wax platter from a few years ago.  A bit more rhythm changes here from song to song with one being near power-violence speeds while others a mid-paced crawl.  Do I dare say that there is even a grunge vibe in most of the songs?  Bands in Brooklyn must really love to crank up the reverb in the vocals, because it's present. The final song has a super chunky riff that is also pit friendly.  Overall, a consistent and enjoyable album.  Good stuff.

Pollution - (R)Smut 12"  (c6recordings)

Pollution are no strangers to my year end lists, and they make yet another return with their newest 12" (R)Smut.  On this new release, Pollution is a band with many different faces:  a few songs draw closer and closer to the classic AmRep sound playing noisy, groove oriented rock one moment, then spill over with a flurry of hardcore aggression the next.  Side 2 shows Pollution playing a song that is considerably slower and more minimalist than anything prior to what they have done in the past, and another that sounds the closest to what would be a "classic hardcore" song I have ever heard them play.  Another great release from this awesome band.


Bloody Gears - S/T 45  (Deranged)

Super melodic, mid-paced punk on this 3 song 45 that is well played and memorable.  Sung vocals in a somewhat nervous voice matches the music perfectly.  Think a less distorted Husker Du backbone with classic DC vibes.  I would like to hear more material.  Excellent.

Molested Youth - Were Always Going To Have Breakfast Alone 7"  (Derranged)

Remember when hardcore bands in the early 80's had crazy names?  Well so do Molested Youth, and they just don't stop there.  These guys have the early 80's hardcore sound down perfect from this song structure to the tiny production.  This is hardcore the way it is meant to be played:  simple, fast, and pissed.  Recommended.

Give - Boots Of Faith 45  (Deranged) 

Deranged Records does it again!  Oh man, what a good year they had with all their killer hardcore releases (some I still need to pick up).  Originally, I was turned off by Give with their quasi-spiritual/hippie aesthetic, but on a whim I decided to buy this 7" and boy was I surprised!   Give play a super catchy and memorable brand of melodic hardcore similar to the great sounds coming out of DC in the late 80's and early 90's.  Total Swiz worship here!  A great 45 that gets repeated listens at the CCHQ.

Vaccine - Human Hatred 7"  (Painkiller)

Full on blasts here similar to the demo but more songs!    What separates these guys from the rest that is playing power-violence is that these guys are edge and proud.  A super brutal 7" that is not for the meek.  These 10 songs that go by fast.  Ugly and negative... Human Hatred indeed.

Veins - Demo 7"  (Youth Attack)

OK, whoever came up with the term "mysterious guy hardcore" needs their bottom spanked.  It's often cited that all bands on Youth Attack Records and automatically dubbed with such term, and I don't understand why.  Anyway, Veins is pretty much the same lineup as Youth Attack Records founder Mark McCoy's former band The Oath, but with slight change.  Veins sounds just like the 1st 7" by The Oath, which is pretty standard fast hardcore with shouted vocals.  I liked that 7" and now I like this.  Nothing ground breaking, but still good.   Boutique packaging.

Free Spirit - Free Yourself 7"  (Triple B)

These guys continue their mid 80's NYHC hardcore worship a la NYC Mayhem on the demo tape, and tidy everything up for their debut 7" on Triple B Records.  Lots of speed and moshy parts throughout!  What more could you ever want in a hardcore band?  I could see kids at shows going off for this.  Good stuff.

Society Nurse - Junk Existence 45  (Iron Lung)

Awesome dark hardcore that worships Die Kreuzen back in the early years when they were worth a shit.   Man, this band can play!  Only 3 songs here, but they are written quite well.  I love the the guitar freakouts on these songs.  I need to hear more!  Thankfully, Iron Lung Records is putting out another piece of wax by these guys in 2011!

Ecoli - 45  (Stress Domain)

More punk than hardcore, Ecoli play noisy and somewhat sloppy hardcore punk, that is snotty and harsh while still being memorable.   Another great 45 that if I was told was released in the early 80's I would believe it.  Another 45 review here, so yeah... too short of a listen, but I like these songs.  Awesome guitar lines.


Warning//Warning - Nuclear Cult  (self released)

Total Japanese hardcore worship from France here.  What I love about this tape is not only is it so over the top noisy, but the drum playing is quite minimalist that it really add to the uneasiness of the song structures.  If you want to ears to bleed, check out this one. 

Drugged SS - Demo CS

Awesome fast hardcore at it's most raw from out of Norway.  What I like about this tape so much is that it has a true demo feel and doesn't go for all the bells and whistles that a lot of modern hardcore bands do when producing a demo.  Perfect.