Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hard at Work or Hardly Working?

















Bert and Walsh, reaching new creative heights in the basement.
























Mez, dictating his memoirs.

Pix by Woji.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Charles Manson, not Edward Cullen

So, last night I went down to Treasure Town, a really fucking cool DIY space just a few stops west off of the Pink Line. I went with the intention of seeing Lechuza, who are a totally fucking great metal/crust/ska-tinged/doom/whatever band. I saw them a few months ago at Archer Nemesis and their heavy riffage blew my mind out the back of my head. I don't know Lechuza's official stance on marijuana, but they've got enough Master of Reality-style Black Sabbath elements in there for a stoner like me to really dig on. I snagged a six pack of PBR and a one-day CTA pass (which will come in handy for picking up a fresh eighth today after work - again, stoner) and hopped on the train.

I also went to get my copy of BANNED! - a 'zine by two young dudes out of Berwyn. (BERRRWYN!) They caught Sex Bunker when we played with MDC about a year back, and I guess we made an impression on them. They reviewed Great, More Garbage in such glowing terms, I won't even bother to paraphrase, I'll just copy the whole damn review here - for the sake of my ego more than anything else.
"One of our favorite local bands, Sex Bunker, is back with their demo 'Great More Garbage.' Taking a different leaf from 'Everything is Awful,' Sex Bunker throws away their previously (semi) catchy choruses in favor of pure noise. That being said the band's new formula sounds more menacing, a bit like Detroit's Blight meets Sonic Youth and maybe a touch of Negative Approach for good measure. The lo-fi production adds to the band's heavy sound as vocalist, Mez, sounds like a kidnap victim screaming desperately for help out of the back of a trunk. Or maybe he's the one doing the kidnapping. Sex Bunker is not the type of band you want to listen to in front of your grandmother . . . or even your friends. Featuring unadulterated blasts of violent, angst filled (in a Charles Manson, not Edward Cullen sort of way), brain-melting music, Sex Bunker's new release is not for the faint of heart. But for everyone who's not a pussy, get it. Now."
Now that is right pretty word-smithing, right there. The Negative Approach reference in particular is awesome, because one of the first songs I covered in my first band was "Nothing" and John Brannon is one of the best hardcore screamers ever. MIDWEST RULES FUCK YOU!

Ahem. Sorry, I got a little overexcited there for a second.

Of course, I would've preferred that they used "everyone who's not a pasty, spineless tool of the Pig-Dogs" to "everyone who's not a pussy" but I'll take what I can get, especially when what I get is this excited about our music. I could go on about the gendered aspects of language, and how we can reinforce oppressive frames of thought through unintentionally sexist slang, but I'll save it for the lyrics. Just, y'know, do me a favor and read the lyrics, alright?

The last band I caught before heading home was Adelitas, who came all the way from Portland. They were fantastic. I hadn't intended on staying for their set because it was getting late and I needed my beauty sleep, but they played fourth instead of last, bumping Sin Orden (who I had to miss, unfortunately) and totally taking me by surprise.

I assume Adelitas take their name from La Adelita, which is a cool bit of history. They play hardcore punk with a heavy infusion of Latin American folk music. The thing that makes Adelitas stand out above the pack is the way their songs flow effortlessly back and forth from an ass-shaking Latin rhythm to headbanging hardcore. They were fantastic live - the band was tight and the singer was enthusiastic. Treasure Town is the second floor of a huge old warehouse, and the air was so thick with humidity that it felt like you could cut out a chunk and serve it on a plate. Oppressive conditions were cast aside, however, once Adelitas launched into the first of their Latin-flavored hardcore jams, and the crowd was dancing in no time.

I managed to snag a CD-R, along with a sticker and tour poster, but I'm gonna try and get my grubby mitts their new LP. I don't know what label they're on (if any) and I didn't catch the name of a distro that had 'em, but the bassist said they'd figure something out if I e-mailed them. I hope I don't have to wait until they're back home from tour.

It was a great night, all in all. Following a short train ride home I curled up in my bed with my mini-bubbler and smoked the last of my grass while reading BANNED. It was a great read - and it's cool that the whole thing is relatively Chicago-centric. Hopefully the boys from Berwyn keep cranking out more issues.

In the meantime, Sex Bunker has been hammering away in our basement, creating new slabs of sonic terror for you. "Bad acid trip music," as Bert says. Hopefully we'll have a demo to post sometime next week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Future is a Shitty Website, Loading Forever

So, it seems like every few months we've been reassuring you that something is coming soon . . . and don't worry, it is.

But I feel as though I've been neglecting the more frivolous uses of this blog. For instance, Bert just moved into the apartment that houses both me (Mez) and our practice space. I feel like we should pepper this blog with pictures of him and I and various hijinks around the apartment. Smoking bongs in our underpants, perhaps. Or would that ruin the mystique we're trying to cultivate?

Regarding that mystique, I kinda feel like we have too many websites with our name plastered on them. Walsh would no doubt agree with me, but he is a hateful man who we try and deal with through a drum set or not at all. I think Walsh would prefer if we advertised our shows and music via smoke signals.

Right now I'm trying to update our Last.fm page, because it still has stuff floating around from "Everything is Awful" on it. We also have a Songkick, which I only signed up for so that I could post upcoming shows on our Bandcamp page, which seems like the best way to disseminate free high-quality MP3s now that our MySpace is basically pointless. Additionally, we have a Facebook, because that's the style these days, and in turn, we have a ReverbNation account so that we can post songs on our aforementioned Facebook page. Then there's Twitter, which I can't figure out a good use for at all, and the Big Cartel site, which seemed to have a purpose, but now the damn Bandcamp has a shopping cart . . . And of course there's our YouTube page, which doesn't get updated nearly as often as it should. Perhaps videos of Bert and I smoking bongs in our underpants are in order?

Honestly, I only have myself to blame. I kinda went into some kind of pot-induced-website-sign-up-frenzy.

Speaking of people in their underpants, while I was on my website-sign-up-frenzy, I joined a site called Punkrockers.com without really looking at it first. Upon closer examination, I realized that it was fucking stupid. I should've realized that it was fucking stupid at the outset when I saw that the name of the site was "Punkrockers.com" but I was in that aforementioned website-sign-up-frenzy. (Hence the Songkick, Bandcamp, Last.fm, Twitter, all that shit - I know, I'm a dork.)

The predominant feature of the site was a "models" section which basically consisted of "punk" looking girls vamping for the camera in their skivvies. If that's your bag, that's fine, but it's a little too "Punk Rock Maxim" for me. What's the point of all this punk rock bullshit if we just act the same as the mainstream, albeit with a bit more piercings and hair dye? Why is there a model rating system similar to Hotornot.com on a supposedly "punk rock" website? Philisophical questions, to be sure. Phrases like "objectification," "sexism," and "the final paper from my Women and Gender Studies class" come to mind. (I can hear the peanut gallery already - "Don't you like girls, faggot?" Go back to the locker room, jock-o.)

Anyway, I finally managed to delete our Punkrockers.com account, so I guess we're not punk rockers anymore. Too bad, so sad.

Beyond that, I think it's better when girls are in bands, as opposed to when girls pose in their underpants for bands. Punk rock and hardcore are often way too much of a straight-white-boy-sausage-fest, and I'm fucking sick of it. I went to an all-boys Catholic high school, and it fucking sucked. I grew up in the lily-white southwest suburbs of Chicago, and it fucking sucked. Why in the hell would I want to participate in an all-boy, lily-white music scene? Chances are it'll fucking suck.

This is why I must find awesome female-fronted bands like the Scabs and the Outs and get them to play shows with us. Fenced is a local act comprised entirely of young punk rock ladies - I was thinking of asking them if they'd like to record an EP with Bert and I in the basement. (Side note - they just broke up. Bummer.) Of course, that's not to neglect the awesome Latino hardcore scene right in my own backyard. Sin Orden are head number one motherfuckers in that regard, at least in my mind. They carry the banner for Los Crudos, and Gordo, their drummer, is a righteous dude who also plays in Kontaminat. I'd love to play with some Latino bands again. After that, we'll find some politically-conscious black rappers. There has to be a few in Chicago, right? I dug on some tracks by BBU ("Chi Don't Dance" is a fucking jam) but they've gotten a bit out of our league, celebrity-wise, I think.

Anyway, this rambling rant has gone on long enough. At the very least, stay tuned for a picture of Bert and I smoking a bong in our underpants.

Stay tuned for Friday's post, when I talk about this:




















See that? At the bottom? Listed next to independent media darlings Trash Talk and Fucked Up? That's right. It's us.