Tuesday, June 30, 2020

DJ Ragz Serves Up A Course-By-Course Breakdown of "The Whole Menu" Beat Tape Series with Unown & Friends (All-around Breakdown)

We've been rockin' with DJ Ragz & Unown ever since they released a scrumptious, mouth-watering collection of beats called Pasta & Wings on San Diego-based Common Good Records in 2018. DJ Ragz is a world-class DJ and turntablist hailing from Virginia. While he's well-known for his battle appearances (DMC, Scribble Jam, Scion, Coast 2 Coast, etc.) he's also known as a member of the Hip-Hop group Jazz Addixx and as the co-creator of break record series, The Bare Bones. Ragz was most recently part of Man Bites Dog Records' 2019 yuletide Hip-Hop comp. Happy Holidays. Unown is a DC-based producer, engineer, and DJ currently traveling the world and rocking stages on the MPC as part of Oddisee's band, Good Compny. Also known as a member of Jazz Addixx, when Unown's not jet-setting across the world, he's either holed up in the studio working on tracks or DJ'ing around DC/Philly. Unown & DJ Ragz's next sonic platter, Burgers & Sliders, was served up by Common Good Records in April 2019. I can, actually, recall listening to a pre-release advance Ragz sent me of Burgers & Sliders whilst in the Philadelphia International Airport with my beautiful wife awaiting our flight to Italy for our honeymoon.

Just about a year later, DJ Ragz & Unown launched their own Bandcamp page, 2 Fat Music, which features Pasta & Wings (now, split up into two separate courses,) and Burgers & Sliders along with two freshly cooked courses: TWOCRAZYTACOS & Juice. Then, just yesterday, an additional Boom-Bap-laden platter, Select Discount Seafood was surprise-released on Bandcamp, as well. To our ears at least, these easily-digestible EP's appear to be cut from the same napkin as J Dilla's Donuts (2006) which is the crème de la crème of Instrumental/food-themed Hip-Hop, in our opinion. We've been speaking with both Brian "DJ Ragz" Ragonese & Richard "Rit" Patterson (Unown) for quite a few months now and we've cooked up something special for you, trusty Witzard reader! Ragz told us, via email, "sh*t is funny sometimes... to tell you the truth, I was falling out of love with [DJ'ing]... luckily, Unown had an instant suggestion that made this whole food EP series begin." So, with that, I present to you DJ Ragz's All-around Breakdown of The Whole Menu/2 Fat Music series as of July 2020. However, these are, supposedly, just the first six of, at least, 10 planned installments in said savory series. So, fire up somethin' tasty and peruse DJ Ragz's scrumptious, mouth-watering breakdowns of Wings, Pasta, Burgers & Sliders, TWOCRAZYTACOS, Juice, and Select Discount Seafood down below.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Hip-Hop/Food Connoisseur

Course 1: Wings

"[Wings] was the first idea. Unown sent me home with a rack of beats and a way of making experimental beat/[turntablist] tapes and a fun approach to recording in a fun, unique way. Sometimes, I do the editing of cuts, but, mostly, it's Unown that does most of the song and theme-building. I didn't know Unown was gonna take home what I did for Wings and mold it into this whole theme fun experience. A lot of the editing on this one took place in a storage unit at night in the winter [Northwest] DC."

Course 2: Pasta

"This one was recorded in a house that was vacated in Maryland, but had power, a refrigerator, and some cool retro lamp shades and furniture. Arkitek Seven came through and had no idea he was gonna do the project. We brought in the whole studio and my set-up."

Course 3: Burgers & Sliders (LP)

"Before I left the spot in Maryland when we recorded, I gave [Unown] a bunch of old lowrider classic songs I loved on a flash drive before he went Overseas on tour. While Unown was on tour, he made a bunch of West Coast-style beats from the samples I gave him and the ones he, personally, liked... Unown was staying in a cool spot in DC, so I spent three days at that spot. We spent our time drinking coffee, going to eat at local spots, and recording music. Unown themed it into burgers because The West Coast is "The Burger Capital" and it made sense. I played into it, as well, by using West Coast-themed samples to cut. Our outlines are very loose, but our ideas are sometimes well-thought out. We secretly always wanted to make a Gangster Rap record."


"We brought DJ Skruff into the fold on this one. We hijacked Unown's beats and spent some time in a beach house on Colonial Beach. We got together and had a blast on the beach while recording at night. Skruff gave a lot of input and was giving fresh new ideas and styles for our process, as he [was] recording in the same fun way. Unnown was hilarious on this one with the interludes... You see, Unown comes up with these hilarious skits. I love the Cops episode, He's Not Going to Jail."

Course 5: Juice

"On this particular one, I was working on this one secretly for a while with a Folder of Unown beats. On this one, I had come up with the theme prior to starting, which doesn't always happen. I spent some time thinking of different types of juices; you have grape, apple, OJ Simpson, steroids... so, I went on a search because I wanted to scratch these things into the songs, as well. Unown took it even further with all the post-production goodness."

Course 6: Select Discount Seafood

"This one came out [yesterday]. It features DJ Select, who is a mentor and close friend. I've learned a lot of my cuts from this man and he's a personal fav. I went to his house a few times and spent a couple days on his comfy couch. I brought all my recording gear. On this one, I let select pick from the Unown beats I had. Charlotessville was fun and hanging with Select is always amazing. I got him drinking some great IPA's those days. Select is an amazing chef, [by the way!]"

"Unown designs all the covers, except for Burgers & Sliders, that was done by [Common Good Records' The] Ologist. Unown is the engineer, thank God hahaha! Unown is, also, an amazing chef. If you listen to all the EP's in one long car ride, you will see how they all fit together and how they pick up from the last. It's a fun experience. I'm glad to be part of it!"

- DJ Ragz (@djragz)

Monday, June 29, 2020

Sammy Siegler Speaks On "Bob X. Cursion" Single, Hip-Hop & Constant Elevation's Upcoming Freedom Beach EP (The Witzard Interview)

Constant Elevation for Revelation Records (CREDIT: Julian Gilbert)

Punk/Hardcore drummer, musician, and producer Sammy Siegler has been making music since about 1987-88. Siegler's more well-known projects include CIV, Gorilla Biscuits, Judge, Nightmare of You, Project X, RIVAL SCHOOLS, Shelter, Side By Side, WORLD BE FREE, and Youth of Today, but he's, also, recorded music with the likes of Glassjaw, Head Automatica, Limp Bizkit, and Tech N9ne. Supposedly, Sammy Siegler still plays basketball with Beastie Boy Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz, who even remixed "69 Guns" from RIVAL SCHOOLS' 2011 album, Pedals. Sammy's latest group, Constant Elevation, started out as a two-man project with Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife, I Am The Avalanche, Peace'd Out) and released a self-titled 2019 EP on Revelation Records. Constant Elevation's 2020 line-up features Siegler & Caruana, along with guitarist Mike Ireland, bassist Jani Zubkovs, and their newest member/second guitarist Jim Carroll. Together, Constant Elevation's newfound members have previously played with American Nightmare, CASPIAN, I Am The Avalanche, The Movielife, Pass Away, Spiral Heads, and The Suicide File.

We've been instant fans and supporters of Constant Elevation since first hearing their feverish 8-minute blast of and EP. Since its release, we've been in contact with Sammy Siegler over the course of the past year or so and we recently reached out once we heard initial rumblings about Constant Elevation's follow-up EP. Siegler was kind enough to entertain a quick, yet thorough, 6-question interview about Constant Elevation's impending Freedom Beach EP, its lead-off single, "Bob X. Cursion," their connections to Hip-Hop, and what's next for CE admist COVID-19. Constant Elevation's Freedom Beach EP is now available for pre-order directly from Revelation Records in a number of formats/bundles and will see a wide release on Friday, July 31, 2020. Ahead of its release, cue up "Bob X. Cursion" on your streaming service of choice and delve into our comprehensive interview with Constant Elevation drummer and certified Punk/Hardcore legend Sammy Siegler below.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Punk/Hardcore Enthusiast

I. How has Hip-Hop/Rap directly influenced or inspired Constant Elevation? For example, I believe, I've noticed multiple allusions to Gravediggaz (RZA/Prince Paul,) DJ Shadow's Entroducing....., and KRS-One.

Sammy Siegler: Yes, you picked up on that! Vinnie [Caruana] & I are both big fans of Hip-Hop. There are many ties between Hip-Hop & Hardcore, especially, in the late 80’s when Hip-Hop was still "underground" and pretty raw. I remember being in Youth of Today and listening to Audio Two in the van on our Summer of '88 tour, [KRS-One] doing the intro to the Sick of It All record; it was all pretty connected, especially, growing up in NYC.

II. How would you say Constant Elevation's overall sound and style has changed, evolved, progressed, etc. since your self-titled Revelation Records EP last year?

Siegler: We were able to become a band, Mike [Ireland] & Jani [Zubkovs] joined, we rehearsed, and played shows. We were able to write some songs together; that was a huge difference from the first EP and you hear it in the sound. Freedom Beach sounds a bit more agro, a little more p*ssed. We played a few shows right before going into the studio and Vinnie's voice was raw in a great way. We had some momentum.

III. What can you potentially us about Constant Elevation's upcoming sophomore EP, Freedom Beach, and its lead-off single, "Bob X. Cursion?"

Siegler: "Bob X. Cursion" is one of my favorites. Vinnie wrote a great chorus, the mosh part is brutal, [and] I think it has everything you need in a Hardcore tune. The EP is cool; not sure what to say... you'll have to hear for yourself, ha! "KRS Two" has multiple mosh parts. What more do you want?!

IV. Aside from yourselves, who else contributed to the creation/recording processes behind Constant Elevation's Freedom Beach EP?

Siegler: Jon Markson engineered it, he came in, via our guitar player, Mike. Very talented, he has a cool studio in Brooklyn. Jammi York let us use an awesome photo he took of the beach in Rockaway. I love it, he's great. He shot our last cover, as well. Anthony Pappalardo came through on the layout and design, Julian Gilbert took the band photo... probably, missing a few others, but there were a few people who contributed to it.

Entroducing..... Constant Elevation (CREDIT: Jammi York)

V. What were some of your biggest sources of inspiration and influence while creating and recording Constant Elevation's latest Freedom Beach EP?

Siegler: D.R.I. a little on the first song. It's sort of a "blast" beat. I don't typically mess with that, but it just felt like it was time. Minor Threat, EPMD, [and all] the usual suspects.

VI. As COVID-19-related restrictions and parameters are slowly lifted and everyday life starts getting back to "normal," what else can we expect to see/hear next from Constant Elevation?

Siegler: Hmmm, hard to say. I don't think Hardcore really works, via IGTV or a drive-in, but we'll get creative. These things take time; if we start working on some new music now, we could have a follow-up release in six months or so. But we're down for shows, once we get the green light.

Friday, June 26, 2020

BE WELL Share "Confessional" from Upcoming Full-length Album The Weight & The Cost (Equal Vision Records)

"BE WELL is a new band with deep roots. Musically, it's emotionally gripping with an expertly-executed blend of Melodic Hardcore with notes of 90's Post-hardcore influence," explains their newly-minted Discogs page. BE WELL were, seemingly, formed at the top of 2020 and are signed to Equal Vision Records and released a self-titled 7-inch EP earlier this year. BE WELL's line-up consists of frontman Brian McTernan, bassist Aaron Dalbec, drummer Shane Johnson, and guitarists Mike Schleibaum & Peter Tsouras. Collectively, BE WELL's players either are or were members of Ashes, Bane, Battery, Beasts of No Nation, Biology, Converge, Daltonic, Darkest Hour, Fairweather, Mancake, Miltown, Only Crime, Ten Yard Fight, and Velocity Engine. Brian "Fury" McTernan, additionally, owns and operates his own DC/Baltimore-based recording studio, Salad Days Studio, as well as off-site locations Salad Days 2-4.

Brian Fury has produced, mixed, recorded, engineered, etc. albums for Angel Du$t, Circa Survive, Cave In, Floorpunch, Dave Hause, Hot Water Music, Madball, The Movielife, Piebald, Senses Fail, Strike Anywhere, and Thrice. Following the mass success of their self-titled EP, BE WELL have announced their debut full-length, The Weight & The Cost. Ahead of said album release later this summer, BE WELL have released its lead-off single, "Confessional." It's a unique blend of Melodic Hardcore and 90's reminiscent Post-hardcore with sonic allusions to Embrace, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring. "Confessional" is now available on streaming services with pre-orders for The Weight & The Cost now available from Equal Vision Records. There are additional muti-colored vinyl variants available directly from Revelation Records, End Hits Records, and BE WELL's own newly-launched The Weight & The Cost album site. BE WELL's The Weight & The Cost drops Friday, August 21, 2020 on Equal Vision Records

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Liberty & Justice's All-around Breakdown for Bandcamp-only Restoring Justice Tracks & "jason andrew relva" Music Video Premiere (Green Day)

Liberty & Justice are a Houston, Texas-based Punk, Hardcore Skinhead & Oi! group. Their current line-up consists of frontman Ryan "Crowns" Taylor, bassist Edwin Carson, drummer Cory "Gaza" Parker, and guitarists Halston Luna & Ramzi Beshara. Since forming in 2016, Liberty & Justice have released a full-length, 4 All (2019) on Crowd Control media, as well as numerous singles, EP's, and splits. Prior to The COVID-19 Pandemic and Nation-wide shutdowns, Liberty & Justice had, apparently, been working on their follow-up to 4 All. However, it was quickly brought to a screeching halt a few months ago, along with many of Liberty & Justice's members' own small businesses. Back at the end of March, Liberty & Justice quietly released their own impassioned Punk/Oi! rendition of Robyn's 2020 Dance-Pop/Disco smash-hit, "Dancing On My Own." It was accompanied by a remotely-recorded and socially-distant music video recorded, edited, mixed, and released by Liberty & Justice themselves from their own homes and practice spaces amidst quarantine. Over the course of the past month or so, Liberty & Justice have effectively re-released "dancing on my own" on Bandcamp, along with a few additional loosies.

In total, as of this article's publishing, Liberty & Justice have released five brand new songs on their Bandcamp page just this month, including the aforementioned Robyn cover and a damn near spot-on cover of Green Day's "J.A.R. (Jason Andrew Relva.)" We've been speaking with Liberty & Justice frontman Ryan Taylor on-and-off since the release of "Dancing On My Own" and we've been quietly paying attention to and absorbing their recent practice space recordings/demo tracks. We reached out to the band, via email, last week and Ryan Taylor, Ramzi Beshara & Halston Luna, who provided track-by-track breakdowns for each of these five tracks. Liberty & Justice's "dancing on my own," "jason andrew relva," "no more orbits," "second ward serenade," and "halfway home" are currently available to purchase exclusively on Bandcamp page. Liberty & Justice have vowed to donate 100% of the sales raised to Houston-based organization Restoring Justice. Below, you will, also, find the world premiere of Liberty & Justice's "jason andrew relva" music video compiled and arranged by Joey Molina from Ryan Taylor's other band, Trash Magz.

i. "dancing on my own"

Ryan Taylor: "Robyn's one of my favorite singers going right now. On our new full-length, we're, actually, covering "Hang with Me," have been doing it live for a bit now. Halston had the idea of us covering "Dancing On My Own" at the beginning of Houston shutting down to promote social distancing and it all kind of came together pretty quick after that."

ii. "jason andrew relva" (J.A.R.)

Ryan Taylor: "Remember being a fat kid in La Porte and renting Angus from Video Hut every week? Studying it, gaining some semblance of hope from it, before the drugs got really bad. Remember starting another Oi! band in your thirties and thinking it would be hilarious to p*ss off/agitate anyone who would be into said band/sub-culture by covering a Green Day song like a tired Punk Goes Pop Clearance Bin band, because nostalgia, and because Jacob Majors? Still my favorite Green Day track, one of my top Punk songs of all time, from one of my top movie soundtracks of all time, from one of my top movies of all time; cheers to the weird!"

iii. "no more obits"

Ryan Taylor: "'no more obits" is about denial. Or, maybe, it's a protest song. Or, maybe, it's about coming to terms. For sure, it's about my brother, it's not the first, but it may be the last. Certainly, seemed easier, at times, when we were both in it."

Ramzi Beshara: "Edwin [Carson] came in with this song on bass and me and Halston [Luna] filled it in with guitars. Love the contrast of the verse and chorus on this one. Halston had this idea on the chorus for Cory [Parker] to do a 1/8 note roll on the tom the entire time. It's a unique thing to do in a Liberty & Justice song and really helps it stand apart from the others."

"It's a red alert
Got it years ago
Call on my brother
Not them other fools
What I didn't say
What I didn't do
What I should have done
I'd f**kin' die for you
Truth of the matter
They f**in' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
All I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About [their] uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields, he's never coming out
Take me back to the summertime and the leaves of green
Back when we were both on dust and thick as thieves
We would take 'em out
And grin cheek to cheek
The warm bath of the summertime
Kept us close and clean
Now the creep called winter took my brother from me
Got clean and left him behind
Mr. Misery won't take no talk, no touch from me
Lord, bring my brother back sans misery
This ain't the first
Or third or fifth from me
Words on my brother
Looked up to indelibly
What I didn't do
What I didn't say
Truth of the matter
They f**kin' think you're dead
Look in your eyes
And all I see is red
What do I tell my sons
About their uncle now
Dropped out in them poppy fields
He's never coming out"

iv. "second ward serenade"

Ryan Taylor: "Once you think you got it licked is when it hits back even harder than before. "They were all my friends and they died," Jim Carroll. Rest in peace, T.J. Key."

Ramzi Beshara: "This one's fun. A real punch-and-go song. Halston came to rehearsal with this one pretty much completely finished. The only thing we changed was the bridge. We wanted the bridge to kind of change up the feel by bringing in some darker sounding notes. Turned out really cool, in my opinion. And Ryan [Taylor's] vocals really brought it together, the bridge and the whole song, in general."

"Phone call in the middle of a firefight
Harrisburg Hill on Tuesday morn or was it night?
Hangin' hydraulic swingin' left to right—miss me misery don't make it right
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
Key got caught on nod one too many times
Said he'd see the rooms before he'd see that side
Hard to pass when the world wants to see you high
Culture killed a man, bastardized a boy
* That ain't me—head above, feet in front, God and family
F**k! Goddammit, there goes me—swivel shut, can't catch up, head enemy
They call it a serenade, I call it a pain parade (x 2)
Pray for me
Can't keep up
Brain beat up
Mother mercy"

v. "halfway home"

Ryan Taylor: "Never in my life have I felt more justified in my desire to dig a hole to the center of The Earth for me and my wife and kids to toil and live out the rest of our lives. That's what the lyrics to "halfway home" are about. In the wake of systemic oppression, police brutality, and generations-deep racism I watch my sub-culture look down on the marked few of us for simply protesting. In the wake of a global health crisis crushing the American Dream, I'm watching me and my fellow small business owners get slapped in the face by said parts of sub-culture for simply asking to show up and wear a f**king mask, so we can keep our doors open, while folks around us in our community are getting very sick. I, no doubt, want to exit, but I keep participating, I keep listening, learning, showing up because we have to. These lyrics are just my pity party; real Skinhead sh*t is happening right now and you'd rather get drunk in your record room and sing songs to yourself about rioting and argue with folks half your age online?"

Ramzi Beshara: "'halfway home" is one of those songs that wrote itself. Halston came up with a couple chord combinations on-the-spot and the song came together in one rehearsal. It's one of my favorites that's going to be on the new record. I'm big into melodic feels and this one does it for me."

Halston Luna: "Yo, "halfway home" is in AA'BC form and is bookended by an ominous and dark, Western-style melody upon introduction and at the end. The A part begins on the VI creating a dark palette for the melody/hook. There is a colorful moment at the end of the A and A' part created by a dominant III chord in A Major. The B part starts on the I (A Major) and continues a I/V/IV/III7 progression. Although, we play an extended version on the full-length, we go straight into the C section, which is a throwback to the intro/hook to Blitz's classic track, "New Age" (at least, that's where the [inspiration] was drawn.) To round it out. we re-introduce the melody/hook to remind you that you don't feel good. And we finish with the A' section."

"Why am I still angry?
So torn in two
So f**kin' over every one of you
The bleeding backs
The whining tribes
So dead inside
Why aren't I more calloused?
Still more morose
I used to care less
Then fathered hope
Two brave hearts
My f**kin' queen
Could be so serene
Why do I feel alone?
Feels like I'm halfway home
Walls slowly coming down on me
An old man singin'
(la la la la...)
Just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Who, who am I?
Just a f**kin' shell
Just a f**kin' lie
Ghost of a man
When it comes to work
Still run and hide
Who, who are we?
Just an endless feed
Of hey look at me
Shock and sympathy
A grand giving tree
We pull from every branch
'til it's twigs and leaves
I just wanna be free
Closer to my family and me
Away from society
(la la la la...)
We're halfway home"

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #18: Mouthpiece's Tim McMahon Unearths SLAPSHOT Mask Origins (Revelation Records Speak Up)

1986 Boston Globe TV38 WSBK Friday The 13th Ad (SOURCE: Bob O'Rourke)

Not entirely unlike Wrestle/Wrassle Rap or Basketball Rap, there's, apparently, a whole sub-genre of hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore—oftentimes, referred to as "Puck" Rock or Hockey-core. Yes, I've been a die-hard fan of Punk/Hardcore for 15+ years and I, too, only first heard about Puck Rock within the last few weeks. Although, once I started diggin' around, I discovered about 10-15 bands at the forefront; this was, then, gradually narrowed down to 10 "front-line" bands, which will be chronicled here over the course of coming weeks. The "top-scoring" bands we selected include: Crippled Youth, SLAPSHOT, The Hanson Brothers/Nomeansno, Two Man Advantage, The Boils, D.O.A. THE ZAMBONIS, Pansy Division, The Hextalls, and THE RAMOMS' "Gritty Is A Punk" flexi-disc. We sent out a short 6-question interview form to all of the aforementioned bands, received some back, heard a few choice words, and still have yet to hear from a few more. We'll be running those interviews, as well as features, profiles, etc. in the coming weeks. EDITOR'S NOTE: be warned, while I'm a casual hockey fan, I DO NOT claim to be an "expert" on the sport, nor will I EVER claim to know "everything" about hockey-themed Punk/Hardcore. Now, let's just try to have some fun and learn more about the sub-genre together!

It's long been suspected the original source for SLAPSHOT's iconic "goalie mask" logo (first seen on 1988's Same Mistake / Might Makes Right) was an old TV Guide ad. Although, no one in years past has ever been able to find said supposed advertisement for Friday The 13th. Additionally, avid fans of both Punk/Hardcore and Horror movies will quickly notice the mask displayed across SLAPSHOT's Same Mistake 7-inch looks eerily different than Jason Voorhees' infamous mask. Plus, it appears as though Jason didn't even start wearing a hockey mask on-film until 1982's Friday The 13th Part III. We recently stumbled upon a post on Instagram by @xxxfanzine, which began with "The origin of the @slapshotboston mask spelt out by @doublecrossxx, which can now be found at the @revhq site..." xXx Fanzine are, of course, referring to Face The Enemy, Hands Tied, Mouthpiece, Search & Triple Threat frontman Tim McMahon's recurring Double Cross column as part of Revelation Records' newly-launched Speak Up on RevHQ. McMahon, his cousin, Bob O'Rourke, and SLAPSHOT's ex-drummer/founding member Mark McKay have finally unearthed the origins of said SLAPSHOT/Friday The 13th mask. Below, you will find Tim McMahon's recent SLAPSHOT Mask Origins feature as part of Revelation Records & Double Cross' collaborative Speak Up column. Shout-out to xXx Fanzine for the initial tip!


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Puck Rock/Hardcore Purveyor

"Years ago, when we were doing daily entries on Double Cross, I was in touch with original SLAPSHOT drummer, Mark McKay, and we talked about the origins of the legendary SLAPSHOT goalie mask used on the cover of the Same Mistake / Might Makes Right [1998] 7-inch. Mark was pretty sure he had found the image in an old copy of TV Guide that was advertising for Friday The 13th running on TV. Mark & I went back-and-forth quite a few times on the subject; he was having a hard time finding the original cut-out ad and I was having a hard time finding any trace of the ad on The Internet.

Fast-forward all these years later and I get my Horror fanatic cousin, Bob, on the case. I figured, if anyone was going to dig this ad up online somewhere, it would be him. As I hoped, within an hour or two, Bob produced this ad. The ad was, actually, never in a copy of TV Guide, but an October 26, 1986 issue of The Boston Globe, instead. I shot the ad over to Mark McKay to confirm and, indeed, he assured me that was it. So, here it is in all it's glory, the original Friday The 13th ad for TV38 WSBK. Thanks to Bob for finding it and finally settling this mystery and thanks to Mark for bringing the idea up in the first place."

- Tim "DCXX" McMahon (@doublecrossxx)

SLAPSHOT - Same Mistake Green 7-inch (SOURCE: @_straight_edge_punk)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

3 Feet High & Rising: Australian Hardcore Newcomers SPEED Share 2020 FLEX Digital/Flexi-disc 7-inch EP (Flatspot/Last Ride Records)

SPEED's 2020 Flex (CREDIT: Jay Wennington)

SPEED are an Australian Hardcore band and new signees to Baltimore-based Flatspot Records. SPEED's line-up consists of Jem Siow, Dennis Vichidvongsa, Aaron Siow, Joshua "Josh" Clayton, and Kane Vardon with little else widely known. However, a press release explains, "the majority of SPEED's members are of Southeast Asian descent; drawing strength from its members' diverse cultural perspectives, SPEED makes it a point to stand up, not only against racism and xenophobia, but, also, the toxic masculinity and gender prejudices that have crept their way into Hardcore." SPEED have only been around for a few short years, but produce a very unique brand of pummeling 90's-reminiscent Metallic Hardcore. SPEED's Old School Hardcore sound evokes comparisons to greats, such as Madballs, Biohazard, and Agnostic Front. Last year, SPEED released their debut collection on Australian imprint Last Ride Records, a 5-song demo simply titled DEMO '19.

Now, they've returned with their second proper release, 2020 FLEX, which was just released this past Friday on Last Ride Records in conjunction with Flatspot Records. It's a 2-song single containing wonderfully-titled "A DUMB DOG GETS FLOGGED" & "DEVIL U KNOW," both available digitally, as well as red flexi-disc 7-inch vinyl on Last Ride and blue flexi-disc on Flatspot. SPEED, additionally, announced their plans to donate all webstore profits from the release with 50% going to The Bail Project in The US and 50% going to Sisters Inside in Australia. Speaking on 2020 FLEX, SPEED vocalist Jem Siow shared, "this song was born in reaction to the failed leadership of our government during the 2019-20 Australian Bushfires. Empathy and compassion should always be the premise for meaningful action. We're super-humbled to have Flatspot Records (US) team up with Last Ride (AU) on this release to help open our Australian doors to the world." SPEED's 2020 FLEX is out now, via Flatspot Records & Last Ride Records.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Mr Blennd Re-releases The Clash/OutKast "Rock The Roses" Mash-up As Part of Pub Classics: Last Orders Rhythm'n'Booze Comp. (Bandcamp-only)

The Clash - Combat Rock "Punk Note" Cover By: John Yates for Stealworks (@stealworks)

I've, admittedly, been on a Clash kick lately during quarantine... well, pretty much all things even remotely Clash-related: I've recently re-visited 1977's The Clash, as well as Combat Rock, Big Audio Dynamite/Big Audio Dynamite II's sample-laden discography, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros' early 2000's Hellcat Records albums, 2018 career-spanning comp. Joe Strummer 001, and, of course, Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer's "Redemption Song" cover/duet from CASH UNEARTHED. It's pretty amazing to me, while primarily Punk Rock/New Wave-based, how much sampling exists within The Clash and its members related projects' music. For example: "Rock The Casbah" features an electronic sound effect beginning at the 1:52-minute point of the song. This noise is a monophonic version of the song "Dixie." The sound effect source was generated by the alarm from a digital wristwatch that Mick Jones owned and was intentionally added to the recording by Jones.

After parting ways with The Clash in 1983, Mick Jones went on to form Big Audio Dynamite, also known as both Big Audio Dynamite II/Big Audio and often, abbreviated as "B.A.D." Most people know, or at least recognize, B.A.D. II's 1991 single, "Rush," if nothing else, from its use within Adam Sandler's 1999 film Big Daddy. "Rush" alone samples or interpolates easily-recognizable elements from The Who's "Baba O'Riley," Pigmeat Markham's "Here Comes The Judge," Deep Purple's Child In Time," Peter Sellers Feat. Fred Flange's "You Keep Me Swingin,'" Tommy Roe's "Sweet Pea," and Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Anyways, amidst my recent obsession with The Clash, I stumbled upon an interesting mash-up entitled "Rock The Roses" credited to a mysterious remixer/mash-up artists going by the name of Mr Blennd, which, yes, blends together The Clash's "Rock The Casbah" from Combat Rock (1982) and OutKast's "Roses" from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003.)

It appears as though "Rock The Roses" was originally released around 2009-10, but Discogs lists it as an "Unofficial Release" and does not contain a year as to when it was unleashed. Said listing appears to be for a white label/bootleg 12-inch and contains Vanilla Scoop's "Howler monkey mash," a mash-up of Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby" and Fatman Scoop's "Hands Up... Now Get Your Hands Up" across Side B. Oddly enough, "Rock The Roses" was recently re-released as part of Mr Blennd's Bandcamp-only comp. Pub Classics: Last Orders. Its Bandcamp listing explains, "Another collection of red hot hip-shakers from the Rhythm'n'Booze archives! All previously unreleased (apart from "Rock The Roses,") and all guaranteed to bring the bounce and swagger to whatever scenario you choose to unleash them... made to make you fall over." Mr Blennd's Pub Classics: Last Orders is now available on Bandcamp and if you're looking for the aforementioned "Rock The Roses" white label 12-inch, trust us, it can be found online, if you look hard enough.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Guts of The Ice - An Exploration of "Puck" Rock/Hockey-core #17: The Hockey Monkey vs. Light The Lamp (The Witzard Interview)

For this week's installment of Guts of The Ice, we decided to do something a bit different: have THE ZAMBONIS' mascot, The Hockey Monkey, interview Eddie Crossczyk, Slewfoot Foose, Mark Wrecky, Donny Brook & Andhe Scores from Light The Lamp! Light The Lamp (LTL) recently released three music videos from their debut EP, TILLY TIME: "Bring Back The Whale" & "Playoff Beard" remotely-recorded from Quarantine and "2 Minutes." If interested, you can read our previous Guts of The Ice interviews with both The Hockey Monkey AND Light The Lamp right here. Anyways, take it away, Hockey Monkey...

"I watched and enjoyed the videos! The first one, "Bring Back The Whalers," would be a perfect match for a split single with THE ZAMBONIS. We, also, have a song about losing The Whalers (and other teams.) We could do it on Whalers Green vinyl! Also, love the footage of Pucky The Whale. Hence, my inspiration for the mascot question. The second video, "2 Minutes," starts with Mario Lemieux on a breakaway. Again, couldn't catch the name of the song. Love the start of the video! The NHL was so good in the 1990's. I am officially issuing a ZAMBONIS vs. Light The Lamp NHL '94 Sega Genesis challenge! There's no hockey, so this photo is a Hockey Monkey with no hockey; just drinking a coffee, reading a book, and doing some painting!"

- Matt Horowitz / The Hockey Monkey

01. The Hockey Monkey: Who are your Top 3 hockey fighters of all time?

Eddie Crossczyk: Bob Probert, Dave Schultz, Zac Rinaldo.

Slewfoot Foose: Bob Probert, P.J. Stock, Stan Jonathan.

Mark Wrecky: I'm going outside the box here: my favorite NHL fighter is Ryan Reaves. I love that guy! I [loved] him during his time with The Pens. I love his enthusiasm after he lays guys out. Like the time he taunted the entire Capitals Bench after a fight or when he blew kisses at The Dallas Bench. He's the man. My second favorite is Ryan Reaves as a Vegas Golden Knight and third is Reaves as a St. Louis Blues.

Donny Brook: Georges Laraque, Rick Tocchet, Jarome Iginla.

Andhe Scores: Bob Probert. Bobby Probert. Robert Probert.

02. H. Monkey: After Pucky The Whale (obviously, he/she is #1!) what are your Top 3 NHL mascots?

Crossczyk: Well, as a Flyers fan, obviously, I've gotta say Gritty. But if I weren't a Flyers fan? Man, I'd probably go with Gritty. But, if I absolutely HATED The Flyers? Oh, boy. Tough one. I guess, I'd have to say... Gritty.

Foose: Gritty, Gritty, and GRITTY.

Wrecky: Top mascot is easy. It's Gritty. Let me be clear, I hate The Flyers. But, holy smokes, I love Gritty. I don't know anyone that doesn't. He punched some little kid, man, which is the most "Philly" thing ever. After what could be the absolute worst first day on the job, Gritty rebounded quickly and became a fan favorite.

Brook: Gritty, Iceburgh, [NJ] Devil.

Scores: Even though I hate The Flyers, Gritty [is] cool. Sparky [The Sun Devil] & Harvey The Hound.

03. H. Monkey: What are your favorite NHL arena anthems?

Crossczyk: "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise, "The Orange & The Black" by The Boils, and "Walk" by Pantera.

Foose: Dropkick [Murphy's] "Time to Go" (only need one!) Although, "Brass Bonanza!" gets an Honorable Mention ha.

Wrecky: My favorite arena anthem is gonna be the first time one of our songs is played at The Giant Center. Imagine it: The Bears get dinged for some BS call. The classic "B-U-L-L-S-H-!-T" chant from The Hershey crowd and all [of] the sudden, you're hearing Donny wailing out our penalty smash hit, "2 MINUTES." The crowd's gonna go wild and so will I.

Donny Brook: Ramones - "Blitzkrieg Bop."

Scores: "American National Anthem," "Canadian National Anthem," and [Ozzy Osbourne's] "Crazy Train."

04. H. Monkey: Who has the best Philly cheesesteaks? How do you prefer to order your steak?

Crossczyk: Honestly, when I'm in Philly, I make it more of a point to get some gigantic slices from Lorenzo's. But when I DO get a cheesesteak, I want onions, BANANA peppers, green peppers, and provolone. Depending on how I'm feeling, maybe, some hot sauce, too.

Foose: I don't really have a fav place. I order a Wiz With... though.

Wrecky: This is a question that's gonna have as many answers as there are steak joints in Olde City. But this is easy... it's Sonny's in Olde City. I've tried a ton of Philly cheesesteaks, work takes me out East a lot so I hit as many of them up as I can. Sonny's steak isn't chopped quite as fine as other places. It's juuuust a little thicker. So good. Dalessandro's in Roxborough is really good. The best steak is highly debatable, [but] one thing is for certain, steer clear of the two major tourist traps at 9th & Passyunk.

Donny Brook: Jim's, Ishkibibble's, Steve Prince of Steaks. Provolone, no onions.

Scores: Campo's in Old City. I like The Flyers Ice Steak with cream cheese and jalapeño cheddar.

05. H. Monkey: What's the best summer drink: Banana Daiquiri or Piña Colada? (We know the correct answer...)

Crossczyk: I don't think I've ever had a Banana Daiquiri, but that sounds pretty good. However, I'd, honestly, say my favorite "big boy" summer drink is Leffe Blonde. It's a delicious Belgian beer. Expensive, but worth it.

Foose: Beer.

Wrecky: The best summer drink is an ice cold beer. Preferably, a super-hoppy IPA.

Donny Brook: Gin & Tonic.

Scores: Piña Colada.

06. H. Monkey: What have been your Top Quarantine vinyl purchases?

Crossczyk: Holy f**k, I haven't bought vinyl for YEARS. I'm too irresponsible to own that sh*t. I think, my "collection" consists of [The Misfits'] Earth AD, Shower with Goats' Just Another Day, a Lost Cause EP, an old Snacktime Records compilation with Rightstart, Stretch Armstrong, Step Ahead, Disciple & 24th Solution, and the soundtracks to The Godfather, Breakfast Club, and Spaceballs. I did buy plenty of sh*t during quarantine, though. A bunch of beard oil and balm from Royal Beardsmen, a Nintendo Switch for my kids (my wife plays it the most,) and, of course, our custom LTL sweaters!

Foose: Actually, not a vinyl guy. I did buy some '90-91 hockey card packs, though...

Wrecky: I'm not much of a vinyl guy, so I haven't purchased any during The Lockdown. Stuff I do have on vinyl, though: I've got a super-limited edition of The Misfits doing "Monster Mash" [on] clear green vinyl. I think, they only made 250 of them. I love that. I've, also, got Pennywise's first EP from the late 80's, along with Dead Kennedys' "Nazi Punks F**k Off" 7-inch.

Donny Brook: Tormentor - Anno Domini.

Scores: I don't own a record player, but the last music purchase [I made] was Alestorm - Curse of The Crystal Coconut.

07. H. Monkey: What was your last live show before "the world stopped?" Mine was Mr. Bungle in Brooklyn and it was epic!

Crossczyk: March 7th in Harrisburg. Skid Row Monthly Invasion at JB Lovedraft's. We played with Fat Heaven, Olde Tigers, Video Massacre, and Mob Mentality. It was a KILLER f**king show with a lot of our good friends there. MC (singer from Olde Tigers and owner of Skid Row Garage) always puts on the best shows and this was no exception.

Foose: Last show was one we played. Was stoked to see Mob Mentality & Fat Heaven. And it's ALWAYS a pleasure to see Olde Tigers. Twas a grand evening and fun was had by all!!! Thanks to JB Lovedraft's for having it and MC Hyser (Skid Row Garage) for setting it up!!!

Wrecky: Our last show before the world stopped was a banger at JB Lovedraft's in downtown Harrisburg on March 7. It was a ton of fun. Good crowd and we met a bunch of new friends. We'll be back at it again, hopefully, this summer and we can't wait.

Donny Brook: Morbid Angel, Watain & Incantation at Reverb in Reading.

Scores: Last show was LTL & Olde Tigers at JB LOVEDRAFT'S in early March. Had [two] tickets for Bad Religion in April and Megadeath/Lamb of God/Trivium/In Flames in June. Both were cancelled. Bummer.

Ben Lee & Sarah Silverman, Rachel Bloom, Motion City Soundtrack, Charly Bliss & More Contribute to Adam Schlesinger Comp. Saving for A Custom Van (Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine)

Adam Schlesinger was a prolific musician, songwriter, composer, record producer, and co-owner of Stratosphere Sound. Unfortunately, Schelsinger passed away this past April due to complications from COVID-19 at 52 years of age. Adam Schlesinger was most notably, a founding member of Fountains of Wayne, as well as Fever High, Ivy, Rogue Oliphant, and Tinted Windows. Additionally, Schlesinger contributed to a number of soundtracks, including Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Tom Hank's That Thing You Do! There's Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, Josie & The Pussycats, Scary Movie, Fever Pitch, Orange County, and Two Weeks Notice. Adam Schlesinger even produced and mixed records for America, Dashboard Confessional, Fastball, Ben Lee, The Monkees, Motion City Soundtrack, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant, They Might Be Giants, The Verve Pipe, and more.

Since his passing, Fountains of Wayne reunited to perform "Stacy's Mom" as part of a televised COVID-19 benefit with Sharon Van Etten and Tom Everett Scott, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn & Ethan Embry reunited as their on-screen band, The Wonders (or is it The Oneders?) for an online watch-party in tribute to Schlesinger, as well as That Thing You Do! Prior to his untimely passing, Adam Schlesinger was, supposedly, working on a Broadway stage adaption of The Nanny with Fran Drescher and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Rachel Bloom. Now, while most of the world is still dealing with the repercussions of COVID-19/Coronavirus amidst things lowly opening back up and, somewhat, getting back to "normal," Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine have released a Bandcamp-only benefit compilation in tribute to Adam Schlesinger.

Saving for A Custom Van, which takes its name from a Fountains of Wayne lyric, is a 31-song collection boasting features from collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own unique spin on songs spanning Adam's entire career. Most notably, Saving for A Custom Van showcases covers from Jeff Rosenstock, Ben Lee & Sarah Silverman, Remember Sports, Rachel Bloom, Sad13 (Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis,) Motion City Soundtrack, Nada Surf, Ted Leo, Charly Bliss, and Mikey Erg. We'll readily admit, we aren't exactly familiar will all of the 31+ artists heard across this comp. but it plays out like an extremely heart-felt tribute to one of the greatest unsung songwriters/musicians of our generation! 100% of the proceeds raised from said Saving for A Custom Van comp. donated to MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by The COVID-19 Pandemic. Saving for A Custom Van is now available exclusively on Bandcamp for just $10.00 co-released and co-curated by Father/Daughter Records & Wax Nine.

Monday, June 15, 2020

NE$$ & Baby J Share "Third World Poor" & "Rona" from Upcoming Collaborative Album 21st Century Blues Benefiting Russell Maroon Shoatz

First time we ever saw/heard was at a Greedhead Records showcase at a Das Racist concert held at Union Transfer in Philly around 2012-13. Prior to Das Racist's headlining set, attendees were treated to sets from signees to Himanshu "Heems" K. Suri's now-defunct imprint, Greedhead: SAFE, LE1F, Lakutis, and Weekend Money. Das Racist's set, from what would be their final tour, was pretty great, as expected... but the opening acts were equally phenomenal! Weekend Money (W$) were hands down, our personal favorite! Honestly, I don't think NE$$ & Baghdaddy had even released their debut EP, Naked City, at the time. Since, W$ self-released their full-length, Freddie Merkury (2014) and have been teasing a proper follow-up ever since. It has been referred to as both The Death of Pablo, 8-Ball Emoji, and The Emperor Wears New Clothes during various stages of completion between 2014-20. While a number of singles from said third Weekend Money project have been released over the years, it appears as though they're temporarily putting it on hold. So, for the time being, W$ emcee NE$$ has been working on a separate project of his own called 21st Century Blues with UK-based producer Baby J. Between them, NE$$ & Baby J have collectively collaborated with the likes of A-Alikes, Amy Winehouse, Plan B, Mark Ronson, India Irie, Skinnyman, and dead prez.

Entirely written and produced remotely during The COVID-19 Lockdown, NE$$ & Baby J explain the music contained on 21st Century Blues "is an expression of systematic oppression and institutionalized racism faced by Black people in America; unpacking themes of street life, police brutality, poverty, and more..." Ahead of it's proper/tentative release on Friday August 21, 2020, NE$$ & Baby J have shared two poignant pre-album singles, "Third World Poor" and fittingly-titled "Rona." NE$$ even manages to incorporate a modified hook lifted and interpolated from Michael Jackson's 1995 single, "They Don't Really Care About Us" from HIStory: Past, Present & Future, Book I. Both tracks incorporate themes of social injustice, COVID-19/Rona Lockdowns, Stimulus Checks, and other recent, albeit terribly unfortunate happenings, in this mad world. 100% of the proceeds raised from the sales of "Third World Poor" & "Rona" will be donated directly to the campaign of Russell Maroon, a political prisoner, who has been imprisoned for 50 years; 22 of those, in solitary confinement. NE$$ tells The Witzard, "we have that W$ album still coming, but, for now, we're gonna be focusing on this release." Although, he assures, "we have a couple visuals coming soon..." NE$$ & Baby J's 21st Century Blues is currently available for pre-order on Bandcamp and will see a wide release on Friday, August 21, 2020.

"To say "art imitates life" would be a cliché, but, rightfully so. In these unprecedented times, NE$$ x Baby J bring a new project, 21st Century Blues, which paints a picture of the times we live in. Written and produced remotely during The COVID-19 Lockdown, between The US & UK, the music is an expression of systematic oppression and institutionalized racism faced by Black people in America. Unpacking themes of street life, police brutality, poverty, and more, rapper NE$$ (Weekend Money, A-Alikes) paints the harsh realities of life on the edge of society in America, while Baby J (Amy Winehouse, Plan B, Mark Ronson, India Irie, Skinnyman, dead prez) sets a broken dystopian scene with his production. The music is not designed for the radio, the club, or to fit with a current trend—it just is. The first two tracks, "Rona" & "Third World Poor," are [now] released with all proceeds donated to the campaign of Russell Maroon Shoatz, a political prisoner who has been imprisoned for 50 years, 22 of those in solitary confinement. A former Black Panther whose life and opinions would have been in sync with today's sentiments, Russell is one of many forgotten political prisoners."

- NE$$ x Baby J (@nesstagram & @babyjbiz)

Friday, June 12, 2020

PURE HEEL Frontman Doughy Ramone's Top 5 Favorite Hardcore/Attitude Era Wrestling Matches from Childhood (Irish Voodoo Records)

"At a combined weight of 845.6 lbs, The No-Gimmick Hardcore Champions hailing from Buffalo, NY... PURE HEEL!!!" First formed in 2016, PURE HEEL play their own unique take on wrestling-influenced Hardcore/Punk. They're currently signed to Irish Voodoo Records and feature ex-members of Buried Alive, Despair, Kid Gorgeous, and Slugfest. PURE HEEL's current line-up includes frontman Eric "Doughy Ramone" Borawski, guitarists Jay "Captain Annoying" Galvin & Jesse "The Claw" Muscato, a bassist known only as The Mangler, and drummer Rob "The Boy" Ohlenschlager. PURE HEEL readily cite Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, and Youth of Today as major sources of inspiration and influence; in fact, PURE HEEL recently covered "Damaged I" on a 5-way split/tribute comp. to one-time Black Flag frontman Dez Cadena entitled Damaged By Dez. We've recently been communicating with PURE HEEL frontman Eric Borawski AKA Doughy Ramone. Sweaty Vedder, Thick Neilsen, Bad Borawski & BFLO ERIC about all things Punk, Hardcore, and, of course, wrestling. Bad Borawski was kind enough to put together a list of his Top 5 Favorite Wrestling Matches from his childhood growing up in the Hardcore/Attitude Era. PURE HEEL's latest EP, a limited edition self-titled square-shaped lathe-cut flexi-disc 7-inch vinyl as part of Irish Voodoo Records' Flexi Series. They're limited to 50 copies, 25 Clear & 25 Solid White, and each purchase comes complete with with a PURE HEEL fanzine and a Doughy Ramone-designed 11×17" poster. Additionally, PURE HEEL is planning to release a proper 7-inch EP on Irish Voodoo Records later this year. PURE HEEL's self-titled flexi-disc lathe-cut 7-inch is now available for pre-order from Irish Voodoo Records with orders to ship out within 6-7 weeks or longer due to COVID-19. Its two singles, "Solitary" & "King of Nothing," are currently available digitally on Bandcamp, as well.

MATCH 1 - King of The Ring/Hell In A Cell Match: Undertaker vs. Mankind (1998)

"It doesn't get much better than this slobber knocker of a match. I won't even spoil it..."

MATCH 2 - Wrestlemania 13: Stone Cold vs. Bret Hart (1997)

"I was always a mark for blood. This match ain't for the faint of heart. Literally. I think Stone Cold is still out cold. But, I can promise you, this Jabroni, The Texas Rattle Snake never tapped!"

MATCH 3 - Wrestlemania 17 TLC: Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz (2001)

"The Spear Heard 'round The World. Followed by a school cafeterias-worth of tables smashed. No one was ever destined to walk out of this alive. Thanks to some skillful help from one of my favorites (Rhyno) Edge & Christian crawl out of Wrestlemania the new tag team champs, bay-bay!"

MATCH 4 - Judgement Day: JBL vs. Eddie Guerrero (2004)

"Who doesn't love a good JBL heel move? Well, remember how I said I was a mark for blood? Eddie took one of the hardest hitting chair shots to the head that still rings in my ears to this day, only to emerge with full crimson mask. It was ugly, I've heard this was a botched blade job and I can believe that. Match was good, the blade job was better. R.I.P. Latino Heat."

MATCH 5 - ECW Living Dangerously: Tazz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (1998)

"I know the first four matches are WWE-based, but don't get it twisted, I was a total ECW mark; at that time, I'd catch it late after my parents slept and [would] sneak it on TV. Although, I wasn't old enough to catch the infamous mid-90's shows in Buffalo, I've gone back and done my research. Sabu, Sandman, Candido, Rhyno, Raven, Dreamer, the list goes on-and-on-and-on... how can you not be obsessed? Hardcore heaven. I could have picked a number of matches. but I chose The Beast from The East, Bam Bam vs. Tazz. As a kid, I marked for both hard. Bam's tattoos and Tazz's attitude are everything a snotty 9-year-old could look up to. Although, this match isn't, technically, "advanced" or "gory." It is Hardcore and the ending is, well, all I can say is ECW! ECW! ECW! R.I.P. Bam Bam."

Thursday, June 11, 2020

DARK THOUGHTS, The Dead Milkmen, Honey, Open City, THE RAMOMS & More Contribute to Benefit Comp. for Philadelphia Community Bail Fund & Amistad Law Project (Bandcamp)

19 NOTES ON A BROKEN SYSTEM: A BENEFIT COMP. FOR AMISTAD LAW PROJECT & PHILADELPHIA COMMUNITY BAIL FUND is a benefit compilation organized by Derik Moore (Grey C.E.L.L. Citizens Arrest) and a bunch of his musical friends from in and around Philly. It was entirely coordinated, arranged, and released on both cassette tape and digital formats in just under two weeks as a direct result of the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd, as well as "the institutionalized racism and brutality that has been perpetrated by police throughout American history." As its title suggests, 19 Notes On A Broken System boasts 19 tracks from artists located in and and around the Philadelphia area. Said comp. showcases contributions from DARK THOUGHTS, Crossed Keys, Interloper, Open City, Grey C.E.L.L. The Brood, Nightfall covering Discharge, L.M.I. Honey, Disappearances, Ungodly Hour, Ritual Earth, Solarized, The Ire, Swath of... Nothing Wrong, Erin Incoherent, THE RAMOMS, and The Dead Milkmen; with new, exclusive, or previously unreleased contributions from Dead Milkmen, Disappearances, Honey, Interloper, Nightfall, Swath of... Ungoldly Hour.

Also, of particular note, for us here at The Witzard, at least, are 19 Notes On A Broken System's appearances from DARK THOUGHTS, The Ire (both featuring Daniel Cox,) Open City featuring Lifetime frontman Dr. Dan Yemin AND Titus Andronicus drummer Chris Wilson, Honey, a Thrash/Punk band with ex-members of Turning Point, Guts of The Ice interview subjects THE RAMOMS and their stand-out, "Gritty is A Punk," and Philly Punk/Indie Rock greats, The Dead Milkmen, here, with a brand new track, "King of Sick." Although, best of all, 100% of the proceeds raised from both physical cassette sales, which are already completely SOLD OUT, and ongoing digital sales will be donated directly to The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund & Amistad Law Project. Below, you can read more about 19 Notes On A Broken System directly from its curator, Derik Moore, and if you feel so inclined, you can purchase/donate directly to the cause on Bandcamp. Shout-out to NO ECHO contributor Michael D. Thorn for first alerting us about this comp. and a special shout-out goes out to Ginger "Ramom" Knight for supplying us with additional contact information!

"This project is designed to raise funds for The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund & Amistad Law Project as a means for Philly bands to donate their work in support of those arrested and held on cash bail during the city-wide insurrection sparked by the May 25, 2020 murder of George Floyd and the institutionalized racism and brutality that has been perpetrated by police throughout American history. 100% of money raised will directly support the ongoing work these two organizations do. This compilation is free for BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, People of Color]. Please, email 19notesphilly@gmail.com for a copy..."


Wednesday, June 10, 2020

ACxDC Auctioned Off 5 Very Best of Antichrist Demoncore 1" Records On Instagram with Proceeds Raised Benefiting Charity (To Live A Lie Records)

The Very Best of Antichrist Decomcore 1" SOURCE: Antichrist Demoncore (@acxdc_666)

Slap A Ham Records was a Hardcore Punk, Thrashcore, and Grindcore label from San Francisco, California owned and operated by Chris Dodge from 1990 until about 2007. Dodge himself either is or was part of Ancient Chinese Secret, Angry White Boys, Bacteria Cult, Burn Your Bridges, Despise You, Duh, East/West Blast Test, Electro Static Orchestra, Hellnation, Infest, Lack of Interest, Legion of Doom, Low Threat Profile, Marxbros, No Use for A Name, Pig Heart Transplant, SPAZZ, Stikky, To The Point, and, most recently, Trappist. Across their 17 years of operation, Slap A Ham released a number of novelty records 1-2" in size that were released as non-playable "toy" records; most notably, SPAZZ's own Funky A$$ Lil' Platter 1" Noise E.P. (1996) and legendary Tokyo Power Violence crew Slight Slappers' Very Best of Slight Slappers 2" (1998.) Now, in tribute to both of the aforementioned 1-2" records, ACxDC AKA Antichrist Demoncore have effectively released their own 1" record, Very Best of Antichrist Demoncore. Originally, planned to be distibuted to close friends of the band, ACxDC have decided to auction off five 1" records to the highest bidders, the profits of which, will be donated to charity. Concocted as part of a collaboration with Raleigh, North Carolina-based To Live A Lie Records, Very best of Antichrist Demoncore has everything a real records has: sleeve, cover, insert, catalog number, and record complete with record labels. It appears as though, as of this publication, five 1" records are still being auctioned off on ACxDC's Instagram page with the current top bids being $120, $101, $100, $100, and, of course, $106.66. Bidding has since ended! Below, you can read the full description directly from @acxdc_666's original post. For those currently unable to shell out between $100-120 for a novelty 1" record, The Very Best Of Antichrist Demoncore is now available to stream, purchase, or download, exclusively on Bandcamp, as well. ACxDC's latest normally-sized record, Satan Is King, is now available on Prosthetic Records.

"Okay, here it is. A 1" record (0.8," to be exact) featuring the best of ACxDC. Put out in collaboration with @tolivealie. These were originally going to be handed out to friends only. We'll be selling 5 to the highest bidders and donating the money. The design is based on... the Slight Slappers 2" toy record, but it's constructed in a similar manner to the SPAZZ Funky A$$ Little Platter 1" record. It has everything a record has: sleeve, cover, insert, catalog number, and record with record labels."

- Antichrist Demoncore (@acxdc_666)

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Two Minutes to Late Night's Gwarsenio Hall Recruits Members of War On Women, High On Fire & "His Friend John" for Remotely-recorded Van Halen Covers Set (Slay at Home Festival)

Ever since nation/world-wide self-quarantines and and state-mandated stay at home orders, many bands, musical artists, comedians, etc. have been releasing remotely-recorded performances and music videos from their homes to ours. Two Minutes to Late Night (2M2LN) co-creators Jordan "Doctor Mayor" Olds & Drew "Diet Hellboy" Kaufman have been releasing their own brand of remotely-recorded covers; most times, featuring Olds in his Gwarsenio Hall hosting alter-ego backed by a band of merry misfits. 2M2LN's quarantine specials Metal-inflected boast covers of "Weird" Al Yankovic, Steely Dan, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Boston, Danzig, AC/DC, White Zombie, Guns N' Roses, and Kate Bush. All of these, collectively, featuring contributions from members of Mutoid Man, Cave In, Old Man Gloom, Converge, Khemmis, Thou, Spirit Adrift, High On Fire, The Dillinger Escape Plan, ROUGH FRANCIS, Baroness, Clutch, Wear Your Wounds, Fit for An Autopsy, Sleigh Bells, Poison The Well, Mastodon, and more, as well as Marrissa Nadler & Chelsea Wolfe. This week, Gwarsenio Hall & Two Minutes to Late Night unleashed a 4-song Van Halen covers set as PanaMama from Metal Injection's Slay at Home Festival last month. PanaMama features Gwarsenio Hall, along with War On Women's Shawna Potter, High On Fire's Chris Maggio, and Old's friend, John Heaney, "who isn't from a famous band, but has gotten SICK on every level of Tony Hawk 2." PanaMama's covers are a bit less Metal-indebted and a bit more spot-on than 2M2LN's typical covers, but they're still great. Within a statement on YouTube, Two Minutes to Late Night explain, "In lieu of joining our Patreon this week, we ask you to consider making a donation to the Black Trans Protestors Emergency Fund. Please, take a moment to acknowledge our many friends who cannot enjoy any kind of video right now. Black Lives Matter. Rest in power, George Floyd and the many other victims of systemic oppression. We have, also, linked many states' local donation sites below. Thank you."

"Tomorrow at 9:30am, we will be releasing PanaMama's 4-song Van Halen cover set from @metalinjection's Slay at Home Festival. This week we spent our time solely focusing on what we could do to help the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Thus, for tomorrow, please, enjoy this super-fun set that we put together for @frankinjection and his never-ending quest to stop sleeping and fund good programs, like @musicares/@globalgiving. We do plan to have brand new weekly covers back next Monday, but that doesn't mean we've stopped working to dismantle systematic oppression and we hope you won't either!"

- Two Minutes to Late Night (@twominutestolatenight)

Monday, June 8, 2020

Thou Release Blessings of The Highest Order Digital Compilation Full of 16 Sludge/Doom Metal Nirvana Covers (Robotic Empire)

Thou are a Sludge/Doom Metal band hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana formed in 2005. Their current line-up consists of guitarists Matthew Thudium, Andy Gibbs & K.C. Stafford, bassist Mitch Wells, drummer Tyler Coburn, and vocalist Bryan Funck. Thou have previously released music in conjunction with a wide variety of labels, such as Deathwish, [adult swim], Vendetta Records, Gilead Media, Thrill Jockey, Sacred Bones Records, and Get Better Records. Although, Thou's latest effort was surprise-released this past Friday on Bandcamp Friday with Olympia, Washington-based imprint Robotic Empire. Blessings of The Highest Order consists entirely of Nirvana covers; featuring everything from Incesticide B-side "Aneurysm" to "In Bloom" from Nevermind all rendered in a Sludge Metal/Grunge style. In fact, most of the compositions from Blessings of The Highest Order have been previously released on past Thou recordings, aside from "Dive."

Said tracks have previously appeared on compilations, splits, and EP's, such as Peasant/To Carry A Stone/Malfeasance/Retribution, I Have Become Your Pupil with The HIRS Collective, Baton Rouge, You Have Much to Answer For, "Doused In Mud, Soaked In Bleach," In Utero: In Tribute, The Sacrifice, Whatever Nevermind, The Archer & The Owle, and most recently, Riffs for Reproductive Justice. Thou write on Bandcamp that Blessings of The Highest Order is "a compilation of all of the Nirvana covers we've released over the years. Thanks always to Kurdt, Kirst, Dave, Pat, and even Courtney." It features an eerily awesome album cover that looks to be some sort of black-and-white religious drawing/etching, much like what's shown across Thou's Bandcamp page. Though, most of these were lesser-known, hard-to-find, 12-inch vinyl comps. etc. so, it's nice to finally have them re-collected all in one place digitally.

Personally, I've never really been much of a Nirvana fan (I'm more of a Foo Fighters kinda guy!) but I can respect and appreciate Nirvana's necessary contributions to music as a whole... but, man, Thou really twist, contort, beef up, and Sludge/Doom-ify these well-known Nirvana records to a state of near-unrecognizability! With that said, not being a huge Nirvana fan, some of my favorites from this batch of 16 mind-numbing covers include the more "recognizable" songs, like "In Bloom" and "My Girl" AKA "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?" or "In The Pines," originally, popularized by Leadbelly around 1944-48. Even though June's Bandcamp Friday event has passed, Thou "are planning on donating money to various causes over the next few weeks," according to Robotic Empire. Thou's Blessings of The Highest Order is now available on digital streaming platforms, via Robotic Empire.

Friday, June 5, 2020

The Witzard's List of June 2020 Bandcamp Friday Releases & Independent Artists/Labels Donating Proceeds Raised to Charitable Organizations

Tribute to George Floyd for @mic By: Dewey Bryan Saunders (@deweysaunders)

This is a very rare occasion, but I'm at a loss for words... but, in all seriousness, these are very strange, upsetting, and uncertain times. Not only re we all grappling with separation anxiety, cabin fever, Fear of Missing Out (FOMO,) and extreme uncertainty amidst this global COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic, but, as you may have seen on the news, we're dealing with a whole other crisis now, as well: racial injustice. We're in no position to speak on behalf of The Black & Brown Communities, but anyone who was raised with any sense of morals, values, etc. knows whats going on right now across The United States, and, I'm assuming across the whole world everyday, is completely unjust and wrong. No one deserves to die based solely on their race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, ideals and values, etc. and we, as an entity, stand in solidarity with The Black & Brown Communities. Today, Friday, June 5, 2020, was previously scheduled to be another installment of Bandcamp Friday wherein Bandcamp waives their artists fees benefiting Indie/unsigned artists for 24 hours; that's all still happening, but, now, in light of current events, many participating artists/labels are donating up to 100% of the proceeds raised to Black Lives Matter, bailout funds, and such like-minded charitable organizations benefiting victims of injustices.

Below, we've compiled and an, admittedly, incomplete list of some of our favorite artists with new albums, EP's, singles, and covers released today with (most) proceeds going directly to such charitable organizations. Go to each artist/label's individual page to see which charities, organizations, causes, etc. your donations will be supporting today (and in some cases, all week long!) Let's be completely honest, what's better than supporting Indie/underground artists, charitable organizations, and getting some great new music all at once? Plus, there are plenty more artists, labels, and organizations participating in this installment of Bandcamp Friday. In addition to what we've compiled below, Chicago-based Trouble In Mind Records, amongst others, shared an ever-evolving Google Docs list consisting of 1,000+ Black Producers/Artists/Labels for Bandcamp Day. Run The Jewels' phenomenal RTJ4 was surprised released earlier this week, as well; it's available for FREE download online, but Killer Mike & El-P have given fans the option to donate directly to The National Lawyers Guild: Mass Defense Fund and similar organizations. Yes, we're all stuck at home currently, but you can still do your part to help change history from your couch!

Armand Hammer - Shrines (Backwoodz Studioz)

Braid - B-Sides & Demos from No Coast (City at Night Records)

Brainstory - "Free Your Mind" (self-released)

Darko The Super - Nevermind/FREAK OUT! (UDDTBA)

Serengeti - DISCOKEN 1979 DEMOS 7-inch (Fake Four, Inc.)

Dope KNife & Factor Chandelier - Kill Factory EP (self-released)

Ryan + Jono (Extra Arms) - "Great Cop" B/​W "Youth Against Fascism" (self-reelased)

Hieronymus Dros - The Age of Hieronymus (self-released)

INVENTIONS - Continuous Portrait (Temporary Residence Ltd.)

J.Rocc - Beatitudes (self-released)

Mega Ran & K-Murdock - Forever Famicom (10th Anniversary RE-Release) PRE-ORDER (RandomBeats Music)

Mega Ran & DJ Organic - Coin Op Crush (Re-Release) (RandomBeats Music)

Moe Dirdee - Moe Dert (Moe Dirdee​/​Dert Beats) (Street Corner Music)

Moor Mother & Olof Melander - ANTHOLOGIA 01 EP (self-released)

Bob Nanna - "Know Your Rights" (The Clash) (self-released)

Eli "Paperboy" Reed & The True Loves - Aces of Spades EP (Yep Roc Records)

Roughneck Jihad - The Red Sentence (Jihad The Roughneck MC)

SAVAK - "Feel What You Feel" B​/​W "Access Egress" (self-released)

Ty Segall & Cory Hanson - She's A Beam (Drag City Records)

Smoove & Turrell - Stratos Bleu (Jalapeno Records)

Territories - When The Day Is Done EP (self-released)


TOBACCO - Hungry Eyes (Rad Cult)

The Vicious Cycles - "Sandpaper" (Pirates Press Records)

Wrecking Crew - Raheem's Lament (self-released)