Thursday, February 6, 2014

Drown: S/T

Back in the flow:

Discovered this band from Houston, Texas recently, and they've released a small 3 track ep. They cite Stigmata, Hatebreed and Grimlock as influences on their band, and you can definitely hear that in the three songs that tear through your speakers like some kind of angry bull. "Death's Bell" opens the album with some gnarly guitar and vocals that immediately attract attention and is shortly followed by a driving beat.
"Winter" keeps my attention, but as that bass line near the end of the song came on, the mosh lights when green.

My thoughts: good beats, vocals rock, and I like the music, the only problem is that there are so few tracks. Which is a good sign, because I'd like some more, so it's really only a problem on my end.

Definitely worth the listen, stop by the band's bandcamp (here), and buy the album!
Find em on Facebook

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Black Mask "Lost Below"

School and martial art training keeps one busy. 
To help keep my sanity in my time of need, my favorite band has released a new album.

Black Mask, Pennsylvania's powerviolence group of beards has finally graced us with new material following up their, I think, strong first release of their self-titled debut. While I love that first album, and it is constantly - I MEAN IT HASN'T BEEN TAKEN OUT OF MY CAR IN SEVERAL MONTHS CONSTANT - playing in my car, I was beginning to think it was high time something new came from the band, because the video of Surfacing was great but felt like I was being lead on because there was nothing after it. Now I feel fulfilled.

"Lost Below" is, on every level, just as good  (and better!) than the self-titled Black Mask release. The artwork is eye-catching and grim, and music is very much the same. Right from the starting track of "Extinction", you get the feeling you are in for a helluva ride. "Tormented", my personal favorite of the album, is just downright killer. "I am. Digging. My Own. Grave. UGH" followed by that guitar riff that caused me to ruin a few things in my room due to the bedroom mosh. 

I could go on and on about this album and how much I love it. But I figure you should experience it first hand rather than hear some ginger kid with no soul babble on about it.

If you like it, go and buy it. You can find it on here.

Also, they have a music video for "Tormented", able to be found here on Youtube

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm in the transition of moving back to college, but this past Thursday I had the pleasure of hosting a concert in my basement, featuring a TC metalcore band called Correlations, a hard-to-define band called Household (more on them later), and melodic hardcore band Conveyer. It was a blast, and nothing beats DIY house shows.

I'd heard of Household before, and the only things I ever heard from people were "It's strange/different/etc". But no one could ever really describe it to me. Some said melodic hardcore, some said pop-punk, others yet said posi-core (is that even a thing?). After seeing them, they would all be right, I suppose. Household blends and bends the genre, having moments of pure punk before going into a "moment of clarity" of musicality that is sometimes forgotten in the genre. What they really reminded me of was La Dispute, but closer to the hardcore punk roots that the members of the band are all planted in.

This music video of their new song is stellar, and the music is free download somewhere, check them out.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year: New Music

Greetings all, hopefully your New Year's celebrations were splendid and that your New Year's resolutions are not too far out of reach. I figured that a good way to start off the new year would be to post about a new(er) band, and their brand-spanking-new digital only release: Iowa City's Teen Daad and their "Worth It" ep.

I personally know the vocalist/guitar player, Jeff, who is also in a band called The Olympics, of which I am pretty sure I have mentioned here before. There is a similarity in the music of the two bands, but Teen Daad is much more down-tempo, mellow band, but it's still got rock and roll vibes, guitar tones and sections which I would swear were from a shoegaze or stoner band, and Jeff's vocals vary from being light, airy and enchanting ("  "), to being haunting ("Have A Bite"). I've given this ep a listen several times through, and each song has some wonderful parts that I could go on about, but the track that caught my ears the most (and eyes with the disturbing, yet strangely enticing music video "Have A Bite". When I first put it on, I half expected this to be a stoner-something release and was about to be shocked. Jeff's vocals are particularly catching on this track, and the whole song seems to me to have a vibe to it that doesn't shake off immediately after listening to it. The crazy tones at the 2:30 mark really throw in some variation that I enjoyed immensely, almost reminding me of Full of Hell - not that it sounds like that band, just reminiscent of similar

This type of music is usually not what I listen to, but given that I cannot turn it off, this is something that everyone needs to give at least one listen to. You can find the music here (Bandcamp) with a free download, which you should take advantage of, Teen Daad on Facebook to keep up with the group, and you can find the music video here.

While you're at it, look for The Olympics, you can find them on Spotify, the Barefoot Blondes album will make your day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Favorite Music Releases this year

Now that this is no longer really a travel blog, I can go back to what this was centrally going to be about in the first place: music. So, I'm going to present two lists: the first will be the usual "favorites of the year", and the second will be "favorites that I came across this year", because music is something that ebbs and flows like the ocean, and good artists and music that were released a long time ago never get the attention they may deserve until they are dead, done or do something that pisses enough of the original fanbase off that the rest of the world takes notice.

So, without further ado:

" Top 10 Favorites of the Year" (in no particular order)

1. Go Deep - "Counselling Ep"

2. Matt Bauer - "The Jessamine County Book of the Living"

3. Extract  - "Nuclear Demonstration II"

4. Weekend Nachos - "Still"

5. Dead In The Dirt - "The Blind Hole"

6. Full of Hell - "Rudiments of Mutilation"

7. VUYVR - "Eiskalt" (released at the very beginning of 2013, but something I listened to so much)

8. Black Mask - "Self-titled ep" - Seriously, I listen to this album DAILY. RELEASE NEW MUSIC, YA LOVEABLE DINGUSES.

9.  Drew Danburry - "Becoming Bastian Salazar"

10. Nails - "Abandon All Life"

In all seriousness, there were so many great releases this year that picking just 10 was rough. These are the most played on my music player, so I'll just go with them, but I also know of a bunch of small singles/eps/demos that were killer but just get shifted under the bulk of new, larger releases: Anorak, Bent Life, Sam Abbot, Mizmor, Lemuria and more sit in this grouping.

Top Favorites (Re)Discovered This Year

Drew Danburry - Every stinking album and cover. Seriously, this guy makes some of the best music and helped me survive exams and finals this year. Do yourself a favor, go to his website, download to your hearts content, and then buy the newer stuff, because it is all golden.

John Coltrane - This wonderful man has been on my study playlist for years, but I didn't give him and his fellow musicians real attention until recently.

Jason Molina - Dark music which always bring a shiver and goosebumps, he's perfect. He's also dead, so no more music of this ilk will be released, so soak it all up.

Anything from Fallout 3/New Vegas - I play that game just once and I have all of those wonderful songs by Dean Martin, The Ink Spots and more stuck in my head for days...."I don't want to set the world on fire" can be heard around my house constantly.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The End is Nigh!

Well everyone, I leave for the U.S. Saturday, so these next few days will be my last in Scotland for some time. But before I get ahead of myself, a recap of the last few weeks:

Classes ended, huzzah! While I was super excited about the end of classes, I now had a challenge ahead of me: jitsu grading. You can read all about that in the previous posting.

After that, everything else would be easy street: I had a week to study for my exams, but I wasn't too worried about any of them. The one I was more anxious about I studied for just about every day, but not a ridiculous amount of time like some people. I was going to approach these exams differently this time around: no cramming, no worrying about the exams, just reading, taking my time, and looking at the past exams online to see common themes in the questions over the years. Revision was made so much simpler by doing this. All of my exams were pretty easy, truth be told, and I feel very confident on them - even the one I finished in 50 minutes. (as a side note, so did 3 other people in the same class as me. One of them had joked about writing as little as possible so he could be out of there really fast. I don't know about the others, I but I had 2-3 page essay answers to each questions, I had just been writing fast so that I could keep up with my head.) After my final exam, the gratuitous and not-really-all-that-Scottish yell of "FREEEEDDOOOOOOM" escaped my lips as I walked out of the exam venue.

Freedom now meant having a lack of anything to do: jitsu was done, a lot of my friends were either gone, or had exams and then were leaving soon after, or studying was consuming them, body and soul.

I did manage to scrounge some lads up for one final hike up Arthur's Seat, and hilarity ensued. From  mock sexy poses on the peak, to making it appear as if I was mooning Edinburgh, as well as gratuitous mock - SIMBA photos, it all happened. It was a great time, and a beautiful day for a hike in the hills of Alba. Pictures will be posted below, as per the norm.

This happened, and it wasn't comfortable.

Now, I'm mostly sitting around, going out to eat at my favorite restaurants and food joints one last time, and trying to get a picture with The Most Pierced Woman in the World, who lives in Edinburgh, and whom I've had the pleasure of speaking with before, but I never had my camera on me to take advantage of them moment. These days, I just do a little exploring, temperature and wind permitting, and dream of finally getting to see my dog again after 4 months.

Well, so long!

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Hey everyone, this will probably the last post for a while, as finals/exams begin for me. I'll be off preparing for my three finals.

Yesterday I had my jiu jitsu grading so as to attain my yellow belt. I was nervous about it until I got into my gi, and the whole thing was, while exhausting and fast-paces, a lot less stressful than the pre-grading had been and much less than what I made it out to be in my head. When the novices got to the end of our part of the grading session, we had to do V's and throw a blackbelt/brownbelt, which I did. I was then called up to do another one, which I didn't think much of at the time. Afterwards, I realized that only a few people were called up to do a V twice. I found out that that was to decide how many mons should be awarded to those people. We didn't learn if we passed or not until later, at the Christmas dinner.

That evening, we went out to a Thai place for our Christmas dinner, which was funny in that we were doing Thai for Christmas. That wasn't entirely strange for me, because for the last four years I've been making curries or other eastern foods for celebrations due to my diet, but it was still a joke made to the man who organized the event.

After eating, I found out that I, along with 3 of my good friends, got our yellow belts, and I was one of 4 people who attained two mons, meaning I got an "excellent" grade. It was great to meet one of my goals I set for being here, and then going beyond it with the mons. I am now officially a martial artist. Boom.

Well, I am going to go study and procrastinate by looking at adoptable pitbulls. This is now what my life degrades to.

The Edinburgh Uni Jiu Jitsu Club: The man in the kilt is our sensei, and we had our belts tied around our heads because that is the tradition.