Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Speculation Center--Lock Up is Not Coming to A Town Near Me

This is Monsoon Cobra reporting from The Motherfucking Speculation Center.  It's time to speculate!

*Montage of me turning around dramatically*

In the spirit of depriving me of things that I would or do really like, Lock Up has announced a North American headlining tour with Goatwhore and Strong Intention as support.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Lock Up, it's a super group consisting of Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, Disfear), Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Venomous Concept), Nick Barker (ex-Dimmu Borgir and several other embarrassing projects), and Anton Reisenegger (whose name I can spell pretty well because I lived under the reign of the Governator for years.  He signed my college diploma!).  To further inform you if you don't already know, Lock Up kind of fucking rule, and with so many heavies playing all in one band, you'd be remiss if you didn't go check this out, unless you live in Texas, in which case you have a viable excuse for not going.

The Speculation Center news computer has compiled a simulation of what I assume will be going on behind the scenes on the Lock Up tour.  Here is a brief transcript:

Tomas Lindberg: "America sure is cool.  I wish I didn't live in Sweden or whatever, where I have free health care and a longer life expectancy.  I'd rather be subsidizing the huge bonuses for CEO's like my superior American masters."

Shane Embury: "At least while we're here we don't have to be subjected to Monsoon Cobra's awesome power.  I'm frightened of his raw energy and devastating good looks, which is why we aren't going to go anywhere that he can personally attend a show.  I've seen to that!"

[Everybody laughs a villainous laugh while simultaneously looking over their shoulders to make sure I don't come popping out of the shadows like a Fucking Boss, because I do that sometimes]

Anton Reisenegger: "If there's one thing that I like, it's depriving Monsoon Cobra of the opportunity to enjoy our music live, even though if we ever met we'd immediately be best friends."

Nick Barker: "Yeah, just like when I was in Cradle of Filth.  Right?"

[Tomas Lindbergs sighs loudly in response]

[End communication]

For those of you who aren't being persecuted by the awesome band Lock Up, tour dates are below.  Go check them out and tell them that I forgive them, but I've also got my eye on them.

Lock Up w/ Goatwhore and Strong Intention…
2/08 – Buffalo, NY @ Club Infinity
2/09 – Albany, NY @ Bogies
2/10 – Boston, MA @ Club Lido
2/11 – Montreal, QC @ Katacombes
2/12 – Tortonto, ON @ Wreck Room
2/13 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
2/14 – Columbus, OH @ Alrosa Villa
2/15 – Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
2/16 – Brooklyn, NY @ Europa

Visit Lock Up on interbung:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All Pigs Must Die--God Is War

With the end of the year approaching, many bloggers such as myself are frantically scrambling to put together our year end lists that nobody will put any stock in whatsoever.  It's actually a lot of fun to do, because I get my friends on the phone and we gossip and giggle and talk about the most crushing releases of the year in our opinions.  We're all like "Have you heard the new Atlas Moth album?  It's soooo good, OMGz, it's like A Glorified Piece of Blue Sky but wayyyyy better!"  And then we all squeal and have a pillow fight and have Van Damned's mom order us a pizza.

And then with the experimentation.  But I won't get into that now.

On my quest to find the best and crunchiest music of the year, I have obviously been checking all the nooks and crannies to find compelling material.  Unsurprisingly, there's very little going on under my couch, but I did find the other XBox controller, which led to a five hour Batman: Arkham City play-a-thon, so needless to say, I've been more distracted with busting cartoon dudes as the Caped Crusader (or Nightwing, who is badass on the combat maps) than with listening to new material.  Thankfully, things weren't always this way, and I was on the ball for long enough earlier this year to immediately start listening to All Pigs Must Die's most recent album, God Is War.

One thing I respect about All Pigs Must Die is their adherence to extremity; you don't see a lot of "Jesus' head skewered on an inverted cross" pictures outside of the death/black metal sphere, and I wouldn't have expected to see it as the cover of a crust/grind album, but here we are.  In the true spirit of the hyper provocative (Pig Destroyer et al.), All Pigs Must Die have chosen not only a name that my mother wholly disapproves of (and she knows that I listen to Cattle Decapitation and 3 Inches of Blood), but they've managed to comingle that name with an album cover that my wife will never let me bring into our home.

She has a thing for anti-religious imagery that I have agreed to respect so that we can live together in harmony, and as if the inverted cross wasn't enough, they had to go using it as a pike for Jesus' head, making sure that if I ever bought this album (which I would really like to) and my wife found it, it would be unceremoniously thrown away, and then I would have to explain to her why I've gone backsies on our metal-related treaty.  In this scenario, she is Ricky Ricardo, and I'm Lucy, and I've got some 'splaining to do.


But damn it, I still respect their choice to be as over-the-top as possible, because that's what metal is all about, and the jarring image on the cover of the album is surprisingly highly indicative of the music that lies beneath.  God Is War is a crushing powerhouse of an album that starts off with a band and fires on all cylinders for the duration.  Dynamics take the form of "faster or slower" and there's no pitiful excuses for clean singing, which is just the way I likes it.  Sweet, pure, glorious fury fly from the speakers like that slime from Ghostbusters II, except you can't use it to make the Statue of Liberty walk around with a Nintendo joystick.  And don't think I haven't tried, because I've been trying to take the Statue of Liberty on a joyride since I was five.

And that's why I'm not allowed on Ellis Island anymore.

Ghostbusters-related digressions aside, APMD have crafted one of the crustiest and most crushing albums this year.  I can't get enough of it, and I'm hoping that they'll come out with a version of the album for pussy-whipped douches like me, with all-new cover art that won't force me to sleep on the couch.  I was thinking maybe a sleeve for the case that makes it look like a brown paper sack is taped around it?  Hit me up, APMD, because I'm kind of an idea man, and I want this forbidden tome very much.

And because I'm in such a generous mood, you should check this out, because it's possibly my favorite 3:17 of music that has come out this year.

Holy balls!

On a semi-related note, I'd like to write Ben Koller a love song called "Play Those Drums (Were Those Bangs You Had When I Saw You At SXSW?)," which will be about me and Ben Koller having a bromance.  I've got a version of it all mocked up right now, and it's about 19 minutes long, and that's before the extended space jam guitar solo I have planned.  So hit me up, Ben, because I need a drummer to play this shit live.

The Speculation Center--Kataklysm Win and Sepultura is Still a Band (?)

Welcome to another edition of The Speculation Center, where I, the world's best pundit and most foremost authority on Batman: Arkham City, bring you my best guess about what is probably going to happen relating to news about bands that I like.  This is Monsoon Cobra reporting from The Speculation Center War Room.

*Dramatic music*

It seems that Canadian death metal powerhouse Kataklysm recently captured the GAMIQ (from the Quebec Indie Music Awards) for "Metal/Hardcore Album of the Year" with their 2011 release Heaven's Venom.  Kudos are in order!  I've listened to this album a bunch of times this year, and I can say that I think there are more deserving bands, but I can also say that they probably aren't Canadian, which I assume is a prerequisite to winning a GAMIQ.  The consensus here at The Speculation Center is that Kataklysm's new responsibility to their fans is to immediately let this go to their heads, get a Mercedes Benz tour bus with a Jacuzzi on the roof, and show up to gigs and then immediately cancel them to go parasailing with movie stars.  Because they're award winners, they will accuse the President (it doesn't matter which) of not caring about black people, then start a line of upscale casual clothing.  The subsequent lawsuit for misuse of the Spongebob Squarepants character will only make them more powerful, until they inevitably burn out and lose their lives while on a drug-fueled trip to their Malaysian sweatshop.

There will be tiny sewing machines everywhere, and the world will mourn.  So congratulations are in order to Kataklysm!

On an unrelated note, Sepultura has found a new drummer, further taunting longtime fans who hope for the Cavalera brothers to reunite and do something Sepultura related again, thereby giving us all a reason to hope.  Instead of doing that, Sepultura have announced that drums will be handled by Brazilian wonderboy Eloy Casagrande, who won the Modern Drummer Undiscovered Drummer contest in 2006.  Check out this tasty drum solo here if you want to know if he's any good.

We here at The Speculation Center understand that the common opinion of this bold move is that Sepultura are robbing the cradle for a drummer, and have done a pretty damn good job of finding one.  The Speculation Center prefers to think that Casagrande is robbing the grave for a career, and has made a questionable decision in doing so.

This has been The Speculation Center, Monsoon Cobra reporting.

Visit Kataklysm:

Visit Sepultura:


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Speculation Center with Monsoon Cobra--Psycroptic's New Album

If you've been reading this blog for very long (and you probably haven't, because nobody ever reads this blog), you might remember a certain post where I basically begged anybody who might happen upon my blog to give me press credentials so that I can get free swag from record labels.  The good news is that somebody noticed, and recently I began getting press releases sent to me.  The bad news is that I still don't have any pre-release album streams or Black Dahlia Murder shotglasses or anything sweet sent to me.  Which is fine; I like to be in the loop as much as I can without having to every actually speak to anybody.

I like the faceless quality that the Interhole gives me.  It allows me to call Periphery "the worst band in the fucking world" without catching really any flak from it, no matter how hard I mean it (and I really, really mean it, too).

With my newfound press credentials from at least one P.R. company, I've finally got all the firepower I need to deliver you the most vital breaking news about bands that I care about whenever I feel like doing it.  Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to The Speculation Center!

*Dramatic music paired with montage of me turning to the camera dramatically*

Welcome to The Speculation Center, your one stop shop for all of the semi-breaking news about bands that I'm interested in when I don't have anything better to do, soft news puff pieces, and pictures of cute cats doing silly things.  This is Monsoon Cobra reporting.

 That's just crazy!

Today's edition of The Speculation Center focuses on Psycroptic, the down-under tech death troop, and their newest album, The Inherited Repression, set to release on February 7th in North America, and probably a different date for other nations that I don't live in.  Oh, wait, February 10th in Europe.  The track listing has just been released, and it looks like this:

1. Carriers of the Plague
2. Forward to Submission
3. Euphorinasia
4. The Throne of Kings
5. Unmasking the Traitors
6. Become the Cult
7. From Scribe to Ashes
8. Deprivation
9. The Sleepers Have Awoken

Now, I'm no big city lawyer, but I do know a thing or two about Psycroptic, and probably two other things about technical death metal, which is Psycroptic's bread and butter.  And here at The Speculation Center, my job that I arbitrarily gave myself is to speculate about things, so you'd better saddle up, because I'm about to jump dick first into some talking about the probable qualities of an album that I've never listened to.

First, the title The Inherited Repression is clearly a critique on Barack Obama's attempts to end the Bush-era upper class tax cuts, and thereby create the end of Western Civilization as we know it.  If the tax cuts were allowed to end, rich people in the United States would have slightly less money to spend on Formula One racecars and fancy cheeses, thereby making it harder for you to get a job.  Now I'm not saying that Obama is a reptilian alien, but he IS trying to destroy America, and his many lizardlike features make it hard to believe that he doesn't fly a Nazi flying saucer to his subterranean base underneath Antarctica.  And if you're accusing him of being a shapeshifter, well, I have to call bull on that, because everybody knows that reptoids wear holographic camouflage.  I assume that this album is about the repression that the richest among us will inherit if we allow the Barack Obama to destroy America by inconveniencing the rich.

The tracks "Become the Cult" and "Euphorinasia" are going to be real rump shakers, and will go over big at the hottest dance clubs, and "Forward to Submission" is the song most likely to be featured on the next edition of Kidz Bop.  Since this is Psycroptic's fifth studio album, I assume that means that they'll finally be getting back to their roots and will be incorporating the bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy heavy elements that I assume dominated their sound before they got signed.

It's going to be quite a showing from the down under wonderboys in Psycroptic, all right!  Congratulations, Psycroptic, you just got speculated all over!

*dramatic music*

Check out Psycroptic at these links:

This has been The Speculation Center. 

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

With the end of the year careening toward us like a Ford Explorer driven by that really old guy you work with, we all look to the skies in hopes that Quetzalcoatl, the mighty King of the Mayan Gods (maybe, I don't know, who cares?) is going to come swooping down on his fiery chariot to finally take sweet, sweet retribution for his people against the White Scourge, who conquered the continent on which I now reside.  2012 is going to be glorious.  With the rapture predictions all dried up, our last mortal hurdle before we can just go back to high-fiving each other and watching Jersey Shore reruns alone in the dark is the terminus of the Mayan calendar, which spells our doom.

Isn't it fun to think about?

Now that winter is finally upon us (not in Texas, mind you; it's like 75 degrees here), we all know that now is the time when we start making plans to avoid our families for the holiday season (I have to fly out to California to avoid mine, and even then I have to spend it with my wife's family instead).  But if you're a blogger/blog enthusiast/nerd loner like me, you also know that now is the time to start constructing your yearly "Top (number) (whatever category you're talking about) of (whatever year it's almost done being)" lists!  Oh, the glorious fun of judging people's best efforts to express themselves artistically by way of putting their efforts in numerical order.

In fact, the act of putting things in numerical order from best to worst is my favorite thing to do, especially when the subject of my rankings are something perfectly subjective.

Actually that's not true.  I mean, I do totally love giving things rankings.  I'm still trying to nail down the military ranking system so that I can make my favorite album of the year Rear Admiral or General of an army of albums which would be the best album's subordinates, so that Cephalic Carnage's Mislead by Certainty could command, with cool decisiveness, to send Bison B.C.'s Dark Ages to it's certain death for the good of the nation.  What glorious discipline they have, and a willingness to sacrifice!  But since I'm lazy and I don't actually care that much about enacting my stupid military ranking system, I prefer to just whittle my time away when things are slow at work by constructing complicated flow charts of albums that I've listened to this year of Post-It notes with crudely drawn penises next to the artist's name to indicate how much I like the album (bigger is better in this case.  Ladies, am I right, or am I right?)

I guess that what I'm really trying to get at in all of this is that I haven't been doing much lately.  Between bouts of combing my hair and playing Batman: Arkham City and watching Law and Order: SVU on Netflix, all I've really been doing is making lists.  Listing my favorite songs of the year, favorite albums, biggest surprises, biggest disappointments, best demos, best shows, and so forth, turning my desk into a hot pink (yes, that's my favorite color of Post-It) mess of band names and penises all pointing to the vertex of the diagram, which is a drawing of me with my mouth wide open, ready for whatever is going to fly in so I can consume it.  But what is most enticing?

I feel like Dwayne Hoover; my head swims.

I should mention that I've been reading lots of Kurt Vonnegut books lately, too.

What I'm really trying to say is that I'm putting together a festival for the end of the year.  I guess that's the announcement right there!  But since I don't know anybody, it's going to be at my apartment, and the musical guests will appear courtesy of Spotify and iTunes and my CD collection.  Come on down!  Admission is only $600 per person, and the music won't be played loud because I'm a good neighbor and I don't want to upset the Eastern European cab driver who lives next door to me because I imagine he's a really bad motherfucker.  You should hear his accent!  And if you need a place to crash, you can sleep on the floor next to my chinchillas.  They might like to make a lot of noise at night because their main source of entertainment is an old air horn I stole from some police boat, but they're also adorable.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I need some suggestions for things to listen to before the end of the year.  I don't trust other blogs anymore because of my increasing paranoia, and because I've taken to breaking into other people's apartments to primp myself in the mornings, leaving my computer too far away to find out what the guys at Metalsucks think of what the dudes in Ratt have been up to.

What an odd post; I'm going to put it up anyway, but I blame the fact that, while I write this bizarre string of nonsense for the Interhole to politely ignore, I'm listening to a Made Out of Babies album that I'm actually enjoying a great deal.

Suggestions for music to hear in the comments, please.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Moat at Emo's--Dillinger Escape Plan Live

Last Wednesday, I made a firm resolution to myself: I was going to get off the couch, turn off Batman: Arkham City, and leave my apartment for once.  It's been a while since I've been to a show, and that sad fact hurts my heart, but the cold hard truth is that it's really difficult to find the time to go out and hang with your crusty bros when you're busy moping and watching Futurama reruns, which are two things that I do very well.  But I had to leave the apartment for once, because I was starting to hallucinate the way that cartoon characters do when they're trapped together on an island, going stir crazy.  And the first time I saw my wife morph from woman into a roast turkey on a lavish platter, I decided that maybe I should get out and get some fresh air, maybe eat something.  I mean, it's not like we're actually on an island; there's a Chinese food restaurant like 20 feet from my apartment, and a Wendy's just beyond.

In other words, just because my clothes are tattered doesn't mean that I have to live the rest of my life like I'm stuck.

So I gathered up one of my metal chums from his American squalor (to be fair, he'd be doing great if he lived in Somalia) and we drove down to the brand new Emo's East on the east side of Austin to go behold the carnage that is a Dillinger Escape Plan show.

Emo's just recently changed locations from the homey dank of downtown Austin's Red River strip to what used to be something called the Backroom.  If you're like me and you've never been to the Backroom, you won't see what the issue is.  People who have lived in Austin for a while and have some memory of the Backroom, and those among us at the venue who remember seeing shows at the fabled Backroom chose to, instead of enjoying the show, meander around the venue looking bewildered, only taking pause from drinking their $2 Imperial 12oz to mutter "This used to be the Backroom.  Weird..." over and over again.  Those of us who have no memories of the former venue spent the evening wandering around, looking bewildered, and remarking about how Emo's is way too clean now.

Emo's used to be a very metal friendly place, with a giant, smelly pisstrough filled with cigarette butts in the bathroom and stickers with pictures of penises all over the walls.  It was a wonderland!  This new iteration of Emo's is an amazing place as well, but it feels perfectly foreign to us who have spend countless hours at the old location, where the audience could easily touch the performing band and were free to get kicked in the face by the performing band if you got too grabby.  I've seen it!  But now, Emo's has turned itself into a slicked up venue with hanging P.A. speakers and one of those fences in front of the stage, thus protecting the band from the audience and protecting the audience from fun.  When I first came wandering in and simultaneously noticed how amazing the place looked and how uncomfortable I was in a place that isn't splattered with blood and urine.

It's a beautiful and confusing place, and it wasn't destined to stay blood free for too long.

I only got to hear the end of the first band, locals The Brigade, and was impressed with the fevered passion that they played despite the fact that there were maybe 20 people paying attention, with the rest of us clustered around the merch tables talking shit about each others t-shirts and slapping five all around.  Many of us were getting done catching up when The Brigade finished up, and since I was busy talking about chocolate with Josh from Lions of Tsavo, I managed to keep from retaining anything about the first band other than the fact that their singer had a beard (I think).  So far, the night was a smashing success.

Lions of Tsavo took the stage second, and played a set that could only be described as "crushing," and "horrible for epileptics," what with Emo's new stage lights.  Boasting an interesting mix of Deathrash, doom, and Ulcerate/Neurosis-style angular dissonance, I managed to stave off seizures long enough to enjoy their set, and only swallowed my tongue once, and only partially, because I'm really bad with my esophagus after about two beers and a little dissonant skronk.  Kill the Client was up next, and though they were inexplicably given 45 minutes to play (to quote Champ Morgan: "I think they wanted us to play every song we've ever written"), they played a solid 19 song set, so after 22 minutes of raw power, they were done, Morgan having conquered the moat by simply leaping over it.  In the frantic kerfuffle that followed, somebody caught something to their face and proceeded to go get the bathroom into a state that more closely resembles an Emo's bathroom, splattering blood all over the floor and making it look like some kind of back alley abortion took place there.  Now it's starting to feel like Emo's!

As an aside, I'd like to point out how much I admire Brian Fajardo, who is not only a whirlwind on the drums, but manages to play an entire set of blistering grind without changing his facial expression, which can only be described as "what any normal person looks like when they're reading a mildly interesting instructional manual."  It's impressive.

Finally Dillinger took the stage, and their performance simultaneously reminded me why I love them and why I hate their other fans.  It was hipster city in Emo's after Kill the Client finished up, and the band looked like the kings of the hipsters.  The crowd was dancing to the beat, even though the beat is usually not a dancing beat, and when I say "dancing," I mean Dancing with the Stars dancing.  The mosh pit was a flurry of elbows and surprisingly well-choreographed tango routines shared between men with deep V-neck shirts and boat shoes.  Greg Puciato put on an amazing performance, full of acrobatics, crowd surfing, and cursing the Emo's moat, all of which he did while dressed like a stereotypical gay man.  Guitars were flailing and flying, swinging to and fro and proving that Dillinger is one of the most entertaining live bands there is, and their reputation for being a group of whirling dervishes is quite well-deserved.  They played my favorite songs ("43% Burnt" and "Milk Lizard") as well as some other stuff that I am pretty partial to, all things considered.  As I skulked out of the venue and warned my buddy that I wasn't going to bail him out of jail for taking a piss on the wall of a carniceria, I was glad that I got to make it out, and though my disorientation with such a new and slick venue was unsettling, I felt a little better after some guy got blood everywhere and my friend pissed just outside as the show's crowd milled around Dillinger's tour bus.