…too long a vacation.

13 06 2008

Macaroni Salad

It all started with a macaroni salad at a college graduation party.  My vacation away from internet land was going great…until that macaroni salad.

Sure, it tasted great.  But, a couple of hours later, I felt a strange, yet familiar tingle in my stomach.  A bad one.  An uncomfortable one.  Next thing I knew, I was on my recliner, covered in blankets, and fighting the urge to vomit.

It lasted for almost a week, and now, I’m feeling roughly 99.9% better, with a .1% of uncertain discomfort that could come any second.

So, I’m back, gang.  Expect a much cooler post on some fun things tomorrow.

Thrice – The Arsonist *no significance to this…I just wanted to put a song in a post 😀 *

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Duderman Discovers No. 3 – The Out Circuit

30 05 2008

The Out Circuit

Ambient, experimental music is never really my bag.  There’s a fine line between music that emphasizes texture over melody and, you know, music for yoga sessions.  On a side note, my heart will be crushed the day I see “Holistic Stretching To Brian Eno’s Music For Airports” offered in those community college fliers I occasionally get in the mail.

However, I’m a big fan of artists that blend electronic atmosphere with organic, heavier elements such as forceful vocals, the occasional big guitar, and a good rhythmic backbone.  One such band that goes for this fusion is Seattle, Washington’s The Out Circuit.  It is, essentially, a one man project totally helmed by former Frodus bassist Nathan Burke (the band name is derived from the Frodus track “Out-Circuit The Ending”).  In 2004, the project released its debut album Burn Your Scripts Boys, which is a largely ambient work that can fill lofty halls with its atmosphere.  However, it is their latest album Pierce The Empire With a Sound that strives to find a balance between Nathan Burke the Experimentalist and Nathan Burke the Post-Hardcore Reckoner.

Pierce The Empire… has its share of ambient simplicity (“Across The Light”) and intensity (“The Fall of Las Vegas” which features Sean Ingram of Coalesce on vocals).  The key highlight of balance, though, is right in the middle of the album; “The Contender,” a soft/loud/soft track which features guest vocals by Thrice’s Dustin Kensrue, is where the fusion between ambiance and vehemence works perfectly.  As a whole, The Out Circuit is still inches away from finding THE sound Nathan Burke he desires.  But, at the moment, what he has produced so far (especially with this album) is truly meant to be heard.

Don’t expect this album to be played while soccer moms try to find nirvana.

The Out Circuit Myspace
The Out Circuit – The Contender





The hanging wall is moving, proving me wrong: The No Knife Post

29 05 2008

No Knife

When I talked with Thrice bassist Eddie Breckenridge this past December, one of the biggest things I got out of our brief, yet filling conversation was the recommendation of two bands: Frodus and No Knife.  One of these acts, the Washington, D.C. based “spazcore” Frodus (whom Thrice covered on the “Earth” disc of The Alchemy Index), was already a favorite band of mine; their swan song And We Washed Our Weapons In The Sea is a stellar album that has yet to leave the confines of my car’s cd collection.  Definitely check it out, kids.

But, I had never heard of San Diego’s No Knife; I was not familiar with the name of the band or the names of songs such as “Secret Handshake” and “The Red Bedroom.”  So, out of morbid curiosity, I threw myself at the material eager to see why Eddie was so enamored with them.

With buzzing guitars, a VERY neat rhythm section, and lyrics that are as vague as vague gets, I was immediately hooked.  Even if I wasn’t recommended by the member of one of my favorite bands, I would have eventually discovered this band thanks to their unique sound, which reminds me of a bigger-sounding Mission of Burma with better sound quality and far more approachable singing.  

Unfortunately, the band would split in 2003, dividing into bands such as Moonlife (too synthy for my taste), Get Your Death On! (too noisy for my taste), and singer/guitarist Ryan Ferguson’s solo career (the simplistic, pop side of No Knife).  It appeared as if the band and its sound had separated completely.  But, in a recent post on their official website (www.noknife.net), the band announced plans to play their first show in 5 years in the latter part of 2008.  Very very cool news in these times of band reunions of significance (The Verve) and insignificance (Simple Minds).

So, thank you Eddie Breckenridge for introducing me to this great band.  Hopefully, you readers out there will enjoy this stuff too.

No Knife – Secret Handshake 





Duderman Discovers No.1 – Aushua

17 05 2008

Aushua

Today, I add a new feature to this ever-growing blog: Duderman Discovers. In these special blog entries, I will put the spotlight on a little known band that, in my opinion, all of my readers should be aware of due to their talent (or lack of) and potential. Pretty cool, right?

The first artist I want to spotlight is a band from Orange, California called Aushua. I was made aware of these guys by Thrice, who expressed their admiration for this group so much that they recruited them for backup vocals on The Alchemy Index tracks “Firebreather” and “Child of Dust,” as well as recommending them on their website (www.alchemyindex.com).

Out of curiosity, I checked their Myspace and was immediately taken by their sound. It reminded me of all the best qualities of early anthematic U2 (soaring guitars, a steady rhythm section), but without the “we play ONLY stadiums” pretentiousness. Singer Phil Newyear is a captivating person to listen to; every lyric sounds so heartfelt that you can easily become attached.

Their No Harm Done EP is available through various digital retailers like iTunes and Amazon, and it’s DEFINITELY worth checking out (it’s also super inexpensive). From the title track to the final track “Soldier Boy,” Aushua has a sound that many bands often (unsuccessfully) strive for a sophomore album or a “mainstream breakthrough.” Aushua, still a young group, has this cherished sound already in the palms of their hands.

Aushua Myspace

Aushua – Sister Saves





Thrice, Circa Survive, Pelican – May 12, 2008 – Clifton Park, NY: The Best and Worst Concert Experience of My Life

13 05 2008

Thrice

December 15th, 2007. Brand New, Thrice, and mewithoutYou were slated to play Albany, NY at Washington Avenue Armory. I was very stoked for this, as I am a HUGE Thrice fan and I was excited to hear them play material off the Fire and Water discs from their highly ambitious project The Alchemy Index (I could tolerate mewithoutYou, but I made up my mind to leave before Brand New). Thanks to my excitement, I left my home waaay too early to score primo parking (much harder than I expected) and a good place in line, as this was a General Admission show.

Unfortunately, the roof of the brutally old armory would cave in, thanks to a nasty snowstorm the night before, effectively canceling the show. Fortunately, members of all three bands, as well as their crew members, would come outside to play Christmas songs for us, the shivering mass of kids who decided to leave their houses, apartments, and dorms waaay too early.

Thrice, Brand New, mewithoutYou performing in the streets

Ah yes. Good times. I even had the opportunity to talk with Eddie Breckenridge, the bassist of Thrice. Super chill dude who loves photography. But, as awesome as it was to see this collection of musicians rock the shit out of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” it just couldn’t make up for the concert I wanted to see.

So, when Thrice’s tour schedule came out and a date for Clifton Park (a suburb roughly 20 minutes from Albany) showed up for May 12, 2008, I immediately jumped for a pre-sale ticket. Finally, a chance to see one of my favorite bands (as well as support acts Circa Survive and Pelican) in a not-so-shady area (word of advice: look tough when you walk the streets of Albany).

So, May 12 finally arrived and, much like December, I again left waaay too early to score primo parking and a good place in line. However, I over-estimated how long it would take me to get to Northern Lights, the venue where the show was about to take place. Thanks to a humble NY Thruway, and an even smoother I-87, I ended up with my primo parking spot and good place in line at 2pm, with four hours to kill until doors opened.

If you’ve never been to Northern Lights, it’s an interesting place. The venue is set inside a mini-mall (yeah, I know), with a dollar store to the left and a church to the right.

Northern Lights, Clifton Park NY

Surprised the shit out of me. But the best part of this? Like all mini-malls, there was a nice, big, open parking lot in the front, a thing I appreciated as I’m used to venues near massive parking garages or lots where there is a 5 dollar fee or some nonsense.

Now, you may think that with four hours to kill, I would’ve just spent my time dicking around outside and going to the dollar store to buy cheap candy. Well…you’re right. That IS what I did for a good amount of time. However, a plus of coming early was the ability to hear Thrice’s soundcheck from the outside. After all the proper stuff was done, singer/guitarist Dustin Kensrue banged out an impromptu version of “Blood and Wine,” off his solo album Please Come Home. And in a moment that made my head go cocked like a confused dog, guitarist Teppei Teranishi would perform a snippet of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Then, the band would dabble with Cave In’s “Big Riff” (which sounded pretty unreal) before hitting the big three songs of their soundcheck: “Silhouette” (in instrumental form), “Flags of Dawn” (which excited me), and “Daedalus,” which sounded great, despite Dustin forgetting a good portion of the lyrics. Then, they were off the stage and I was back to doing nothing but hitting the dollar store for Pringles and a water.

Around 5ish, people besides myself started to show up; many of them were female Circa fans eager to express their love for frontman Anthony Green, while others were fans of both Circa and Thrice (Pelican fans were far and few). Then, after four hours of waiting, the doors were opened and I finally entered the venue. To my surprise, it just seemed like a casual bar/restaurant…only with a modest sized stage right smack in the corner. After setting my spot in the front, I was ready for the show.

Pelican started things off with a noisy drone over the PA before leading into “Dead Between The Walls” from their most recent album City of Echoes. I originally had a fear that, since this group is totally instrumental, it would be like watching four statues on stage. In addition, I’ve read about how horrid the drummer is in a live situation. But, my fears vanished when Pelican delivered a very lively set (guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec made “Donald Duck” faces while he played, and fellow guitarist Trevor de Brauw moved like a snake) and the drummer was actually NOT THAT BAD. Four songs, with about a 30 minute time. I even showed my enjoyment by buying one of their hoodies after the show from de Brauw. Quiet guy, but was humbled by my “You guys were fucking RAD!” comment.

Now, the crowd during Pelican was kind of in a “shock and awe” mood, just listening and digesting the riffage. However, once they stopped playing, it just seemed as if EVERYONE (especially the ladies) rushed to the front, effectively squishing me against the unforgiving barrier. Worst, not only did everyone rush to the front, but they were also adamant in getting a spot up front which would put my cherished front spot at risk. So, from the beginning, I was already gripping the bar.

Meanwhile, a fight developed right next to me between a plump guy and a blond girl over, I believe, a beer. Nasty words were exchanged and physical hostility was probably just one “fuck you” away. Thankfully, security would break up the fight and send the plump guy packing. As great as this may seem, it was a blessing and a curse; gone was the consistent profanity, but in its place was a drunk blond that spilled Labatt Blue on my trusty black hoodie and just HAD to tell me every 10 seconds how much she loves Circa Survive and how they were her band. The agony. The smell.

Enter Circa Survive. This is when the show would really pick up in intensity. A wave of bodies pressed me against the railing. Bodies flew overhead as crowd surfers made their presence known. Kids just love Anthony Green, it seems. I was more focused on Colin Frangicetto, to be honest. Very clever guitar playing, especially during their set closer “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison is the Dose.” But, besides his playing, I was also extremely focused on keeping my front row spot, essentially making it an hour of struggle, survival, a gut meeting steel on more than 7 occasions, and a Doc Martin boot to the back of the head. Can’t remember the set.

Yes, it was greedy for me to not give up my cherished spot; I realize this. However, I was not going to let my 4 hours of waiting go to shit.

So, Circa ends and I’m ready for a breather. The front is finally not packed with Anthony Green fans eager to greet him with open arms and legs. This would last for a record 5 seconds, when the front would become PACKED with dudes. Absolute sausagefest. Almost lost my spot again, but I kept my ground.

After a lengthy tech set-up (which seemed to last for AGES), Thrice finally hit the stage with a BANG, starting off with “Hold Fast Hope” from Vheissu. I will declare this: pictures on the internet and video from YouTube just DOES NOT do this band’s live performance justice. You have to witness the light show, the presence from Dustin, Teppei, and the Breckenridge Brothers, Riley and Eddie, and just the power that their songs possess. It’s unreal. And yes, I did have to brace for my life again with serious clutching to the barrier, but it was so worth it.

Two major highlights: One was the crazy crowd surfing that took place during “Deadbolt.” Imagine body after body after body after body flowing towards the front, which sent all the security about in a scurry. It is a sight that has to be seen to be believed.

The other? After set closer “The Earth Will Shake,” guitar picks and drum sticks were thrown to the crowd, all of them I failed to catch. The last man on stage, Eddie started peeling off the setlists, dangling them to the crowd like worms to fish. He comes to my section (which was right in front of Teppei) and takes the last list. I motion for it and Eddie looks at me for a good bit. Then, he shouts (and I am not making this up):

“…I REMEMBER YOU FROM WASHINGTON AVENUE!” ::::hands setlist over to me::::

And that, my readers, was a perfect cap to my night (along with the 40 dollar bids for the setlist, all of them I denied). So, thank you Thrice, good job Pelican, and thanks for ruining my black hoodie, Circa Survive blond.

THRICE SETLIST

Hold Fast Hope
All That’s Left
Flags of Dawn
Digital Sea
Firebreather
The Messenger
Trust
The Earth Isn’t Humming
The Artist in the Ambulance
Silhouette
Lost Continent
Stare At The Sun
Broken Lungs
Come All You Weary
Of Dust and Nations
Daedalus
Don’t Tell and We Won’t Ask
Deadbolt
For Miles
The Earth Will Shake

Thrice – The Messenger (my personal highlight of the night)