Monday, May 30, 2016

CD Review: STEVE BELLO Layers Of Time

Layers Of Time
Steve Bello is a New Jersey based guitarist who is establishing his work on several social media outlets, producing and promoting it independently. His latest full length Layers Of Time was released in December 2015. If you’re a fan of progressive metal with lengthy solos and shades of Steve Vai and Al DiMeola you’ll want to check this out. The nine tracks are instrumentals serving as a backdrop for relentless lead playing reminiscent of 70s and 80s progressive rock. His Soundcloud profile only has four of them (plus older songs) but they’re enough to make you want more. The production is by Rosario Panzarella and lays bare Bello’s prowess as a guitarist. Each note in the leads and each background progression is meticulous, and the transitions from one mood to the next are spot on showing how much thought and planning went into them. There is a balance between heaviness and refinement indicating his search for his own identity is no joke, as there is something here that will appeal to fans of prog, thrash and jazz. You’ll understand this to a greater degree experiencing Layers Of Time firsthand. There were some moments I liked more than others; for my personal tastes the heavier, aggressive songs appealed more to me: the intense Nuclear Paradise, the intricate Slippery Gypsy, the hypnotic Jigsaw Mind and especially the title track. In those the rule book is thrown out the window as far as how a song should start, how it is supposed to progress and on what note it should conclude. You won’t be bored if you like albums that explore new territory each time a new track starts. Several moments reminded me of classic Rush, particularly A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres. I found it ironic that Bello saved the heaviest song for last. The crunching, heavily distorted Layers Of Time ventures into doom metal territory with keyboards providing atmosphere and leads that reminded me of Fate’s Warning. This song is my hands down personal favorite. You can refer to Bello’s Facebook profile for updates on live shows; as several performances are being scheduled at present. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Postcards from Mars
2. Nuclear Paradise
3. Instant Amnesia
4. Balancing the Sun
5. Slippery Gypsy
6. Too Far Below Zero
7. Jigsaw Mind
8. Dangerous Heat
9. Layers of Time

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Indie Recordings
Cult Of Luna has that originality that a lot of bands are missing with their dark melodic rhythms and dynamic vocals this band hits hard in the soul. First thing I notices were the trippy melodic almost hypnotic guitar riffs, as I have always been a fan of dark hypnotic songs I was hooked, the drums sound like a heartbeat from a horror movie with the intensity to match. as I am one who is very picky about the types of vocalist metal bands used hearing the term female featured vocalist I got a little nervous. I also went and listened to other bands the featured female singer was in just to have an idea and even though it wasn’t my taste in music it wasn’t bad at all, but after hearing how the screams mixed with the singing I was put at ease, they were actually pretty good, comparing to more mainstream bands I’d say a good mix of Cradle Of Filth with Lacuna Coil. Both have the same essence of female vocals. Not to give the females all the credit the screaming growls are amazing, they blend very well with the overall music. This bands is dark, melodic, chaotic, and hypnotic to the core. As a metalhead I can usually find one or two songs on most albums that I like but with Cult Of Luna I found more than just one. So if you like dark hypnotic metal check Cult Of Luna out and give your eardrums their overdose of metal they have been aching for, and as always keeping it brutal. -Amethyst Wynter

Track list:
1. A Greater Call
2. Chevron
3. The Wreck Of S.S. Needle
4. Approaching Transition
5. Cygnus

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Fiction: WALK BY THE RIVER by Jerry Langdon

Fiction by Jerry Langdon

It was a beautiful early Summer day. The sun was shining and there was not a cloud to be seen; perfect for a stroll along the river.
I liked it there, it was so quiet and one could ponder over life or just think about nothing at all. There were park benches every now and then, usually occupied by some mother with a buggy or older people that would feed the gulls or ducks to pass time. Every so often you would find a couple picnicking or men fishing off the banks. A kayak, boat, or barge would pass once in awhile.
Yeah it was nice there on the river.
I had strolled along for quite some time taking notice to the gulls gliding about and the ducks drifting along on the water. It had begun to get darker. I looked to the sky. Still not a cloud to be seen, and the sun was at about 2 O'clock. Yet it was dark as dusk. I found that strange, but didn't let it bother me. I continued my stroll. It was after all still a nice day. I came upon a young boy; maybe 5 years old. He was alone and looked lost. He was whining, calling for his mother, looking in all directions. I felt sad for him and I too looked around. I seen no one but the boy. I tried to calm him down and asked him his name.
He answered, "I don't know."
I asked him where he last seen his mother.
He said, "I'm not sure."
By this time I was confused but the boy was obviously lost. I asked him what his mother looked like.
He answered,"I don't remember."
Now I was irritated and again looked around to see if I could find anyone that might help. When I looked back to the boy he was gone. He must have been flink because I didn't see a sign of him anywhere.
I thought about making my way back but decided that I wanted to have a coffee at the cafe' not all to far away. So I set off again. A short distance along the way I ran across two men fishing.
I shouted,"Hey guys caught anything?" I didn't really care it was just out of nonsense that I even asked.
One of the men shouted back, "Only thing I've caught is a case of the ass and probably my death of cold."
I found that peculiar as it was a rather warm day. Then I seen an elderly lady sitting on a bench and decided a short sit would be nice. I walked over and noticed she was picking a loaf of bread and tossing the bits to the ground. I was certain she was feeding the gulls until I noticed the birds were black from head to toe. She was feeding a bunch of ravens. I couldn't remember ever seeing raven around here so that was a first. I asked politely If I could have the seat next to her. She just knicked her head not making a tone. I took a seat and watched as she fed the ravens, that would hop around pecking the bits of bread. I tried to start a little small talk but was answered the same silence. The only one besides me that wanted to talk were the ravens that would caw whenever I asked a question. They would eye me; sizing me up and caw. I felt uncomfortable so I wish a good day and continued my way to the cafe'.
A little further down the way I saw an old man with a cane, walking seemingly in place. I asked if I could help him.
He answered, "Son we hasten all too much and still we waste so much time. It is all just energy lost. I'll keep it slow. If I'm late I'll still be early enough."
I could see the cafe' then and walked over to it. I was just taking a seat viewing the river when I noticed a crowd of people standing at at a pier. I couldn't remember having ever seen a pier there before. I looked around the crowd and seen the little boy from before. There was a woman kneeling down in front of him, hugging him. I guessed it was his mother. Then I spotted the old man, and the fishers. Then I spotted the elderly woman that was feeding the ravens. All the people I had stumbled upon on my strole were there waiting for something.
A strange fog had begun to build over the river and move towards them. I could hear a creaking of wooden planks as the strange fog neared and dissipated and an old barge docked on the pier where they were waiting.
In that second I felt a tug at my shoulder, then everything went fast. I was dragged to my feet and with blurring speed down the path I had walked.
The sun burned my eyes it was suddenly a bright day again. I found myself lying on the ground and a woman was giving me CPR.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Interview with Dave Voelkl of HADES MINING CO. by Dave Wolff

Interview with Dave Voelkl of HADES MINING CO.

Discuss how Hades Mining Co. began in 1999. Did you start the band independently or with other musicians?
At the time HADES MINING Co. started, I was living in Phoenix, Arizona and the other members were living in Rochester, New York. I am originally from Rochester but was living in Arizona. I had been in bands with the guys before I moved. Every year in the summer from 1999 to 2001, I would fly back to NY and stay with my friend/bandmate [Chico Z.] for a week of jamming, recording and getting wasted. It really just started out as me flying home to see family and friends while on vacation but that first year we inadvertently created HADES MINING Co. during those early jam sessions. I was playing bass in a death/grind band called BURN VICTIM in Arizona at the time and I always had a huge passion for noisecore. BV was pretty structured with songs that were written and rehearsed and I loved the idea of improvised or at least somewhat improvised noisecore/sludge/free scum jazz. No rules, just drink beer, get high and make noise. It was a perfect situation as we only got together once a year when I’d fly out on vacation. We couldn’t be structured because we lived on opposite sides of the country.
In those early years we had two different drummers, Subzero and Sleepy Eye Oxman. We would jam with which ever guy was available. In the week that I would visit we would try and get a jam session off the ground every day for the most part. We recorded tons of material in those three years. Over time I started turning people onto HMCo and to my surprise the band started to generate a little bit of interest. Sometime in 2000 we were contacted by a small label out of Nebraska called Accidental Therapy and we were asked to submit tracks for a cassette comp was being put together. We sent him some material and that ended up becoming our first official release. Coming off that I figured why stop there. I had started my own label back in 1999 and I decided to go ahead and release our debut 7”. It was released in 2002 and titled ‘Setting Records In Futility’. The mission was to record and release the shittiest lo-fi noisecore we could come up with. That first 7” was a one sided EP that had ten tracks and was limited to 200 copies.
That same year [2002] was also the year that I moved back to NY. Ironically when I moved back the band got quite dysfunctional and we were not able to keep a steady drummer around. We were more productive when I lived across the country. Go figure. A decade quietly slipped by with the band doing very little. In 2010, I met Sean Beard, the mastermind behind WAVES CRASHING PIANO CHORDS [solo power electronics]. He was also playing drums in a grind band on the side. We became instant friends and I told him about HADES MINING Co. I asked him to join. Unfortunately he declined because he was already involved in two projects. He did agree that if the other band ever split he would be interested. In 2012 that happened and I jumped at the chance at finally bringing HMCo out of its slumber. Beard joined and the band was instantly back and more furious than ever. We started recording and those sessions spawned the next release which was a 40 track split 7” with Buffalo NY’s WATER TORTURE. During the Beard era we were also able to finally get the band on stage and we started playing live shows. Again this was unfortunately short lived as Beard ended up moving away and we were forced to begin the search for another drummer. Satan must have been looking out for us and we landed our current drummer, Malachi Nachos almost immediately. From 2013 to now we have been jamming and recording regularly and much of that material has come out on various releases. That as well as playing live anytime someone is dumb enough to put us on a show.

For what reasons did you decide to move from New York to Arizona? Did it have anything to do with building a career?
I moved to Arizona to expand my horizons. See some of the country that I’ve never seen. Experience new things, new people, different cultures. Things like that. I was also interested in seeing what music had to offer out there. I was fortunate enough to meet some cool people right out of the gate and I was able to form some good bands. Aside from BURN VICTIM I also played in a noise rock band called FORK and a grind/power violence band called TOMSK 7. We were able to tour throughout Texas and up and down the west coast. We managed to get some label support from some great labels of that era. We had releases on Bovine Records, Slap A Ham and Satan’s Pimp. I am forever grateful for those opportunities and the opportunities to tour thanks to the support and exposure from those labels. Things were so different in the 90s because the internet was nothing like it is today. We really depended on the label support and word of mouth and being out there playing as much as possible to get anything done. You didn't have YouTube and Facebook and Bandcamp to rely on for exposure.

What do you remember about Rochester before your move across the country? Was there a scene comprised of a lot of bands? As far as the club situation, were there mostly venues, bars or fan-run places?
Rochester had and still has a healthy music scene. There have always been original and unique bands from here. One of the coolest things is many of the same musicians that were around in the early 90s are still active today, some in the very same bands. There’s a strong metal and punk scene here. Rochester has things that you normally only see in big cities. For instance Rochester has its own philharmonic orchestra. We have a major Jazz Fest every year. Eastman School of Music and Hochstein Music School are here. We also have quite a few actual vinyl record stores here. Some cities don't have any or only one and there are at least four or five I can think of here. I’m sure that has played a big part as to why this mid-sized city has a pretty large and diverse music scene. The venues also vary. There are bars, bigger clubs and house shows. There are a lot of grass roots efforts here and people play all sorts of places from coffee houses to basements. The entire region is strong with Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse all joining forces to make Upstate Western NY one big scene.

Have the vinyl stores in Rochester been around as long as the scene? What are their names and what gear do they carry? Do the fans from Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse generally get along well at shows?
There are a few stores that have been around forever and one that is been around for a few years. The Bop Shop is great for jazz and they have an amazing selection of vinyl. The Record Archive has a great selection of vinyl as well and they carry everything. The House Of Guitars has tons of music on vinyl, CD etc. They also have a ton of instruments and amps and gear. The place is like a rock and roll museum. It’s a must see if you're into music and visit Rochester. The newer place is called Needle Drop Records and they carry a selection of metal and punk vinyl. All are great places and we are fortunate to have them. In my experience dealing with other bands from the different cities has been nothing but positive. Everyone helps each other out.

Did you release anything with Burn Victim that is still available? How much material has HADES MNING Co released since you began working full time in 2013?
Burn Victim released a 7" ep, a split 7" with Australia's FILTH, and a full length CD. I only played on the split 7". They started out as a two piece grind unit and then I was recruited to play bass. I stayed with the band until I moved back to NY. I believe most of those releases are sold out but I’m sure copies are available somewhere in cyber space. ‘Ill put this out publicly here for the first time, I was a little pissed off for a minute when the CD came out because I co-wrote a lot of the material during my tenure with the band that ended up on the album and I didn't get a single mention in the liner notes. It’s all good now though and I’m still great friends with the guys to this day.
Hades Mining Co has released a bunch of different material. 7" vinyl, cassette releases and a few lathe cuts. We have more releases in the works. Because of the nature of what we do we always have tons of material laying around. Some of the newer releases feature older material from the AZ/NY era because I felt it was necessary to get more of that material out to tell the whole story. Each release is like a chapter in a book. We have done splits with some amazing bands from all over the world and I’m grateful for all of the support other labels and bands have given us. Releases include splits with SEDEM MINUT STRACHU, SETE STAR SEPT, DECHE CHARGE, ADOLF SHITTER, HARSH SUPPLEMENT, CUM SOCK, SLOTH, DEATHWANK, COLOSTOMY BAGUETTE?, WATER TORTURE, WAVES CRASHING PIANO CHORDS. Physical copies are available for most of those through us or the various labels that helped release them. Every release HMCo has ever done is also available on our Bandcamp page. We have a bunch of unreleased tracks up on our Soundcloud page. I guess that is technically an internet release so the material is not 'unreleased', it’s just that there are no analog versions of that material available.
Working with UNDERGROUND POLLUTION RECORDS/France, NOISE CARNAGE RECORDS/Poland and DENTE PODI RECORDS/Brazil has been a tremendous experience. They are all great people and fans of noisecore should support those labels because their DIY efforts are keeping vinyl and cassettes alive and I think that is very important in the digital age.

How many releases does Waves Crashing Piano Chords have out, and which of these would you recommend listening to?
I’m not sure how many exactly, but there are quite a few. They are all killer and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

Why is the band named Hades Mining Co? Is there an intended meaning to the band’s name?
No meaning or intent. When we realized that the early jam sessions had become something we wanted to quantify as a legit band we knew we needed a name. Hades Mining Co was originally on a list of potential song titles and concepts and we just lifted it from that and decided to use it as the band’s name. I went ahead and drew a logo for it and the rest is history.

How did the label Accidental Therapy hear of the band and what interested them in HMCo?
I have no idea. I’m sure I sent the dude that ran that label some stuff to check out. He was in a band back then that I traded with so I’m sure I slipped some stuff to him in a trade at some point. I can’t really remember exactly how it went down. The 90s and early 2000s are a bit of a blur to me now. I know he was into noisecore and grindcore so he heard something he liked and asked us to contribute to the comp. Much of the early interest in the band always caught me by surprise because the band was not serious in how we did things. The fact that we lived across the country from each other. We recorded this lo-fi noisecore on an open mike right to tape. Everything was no budget, no talent retarded crap for our own entertainment. We were in other bands that actually wrote and rehearsed songs, did proper recordings in studios, things like that. Suddenly I found HMCo getting more traction than the 'real' bands that we were in. It was all unexpected but it happened so we went with it.

How many copies of your split with Water Torture were distributed and how much recognition did it get you?
The real question is how much recognition did it get them? I’m kidding, haha. That is a great split and I’m glad those guys agreed to do it. I became friends with one of the guys in the band and asked him if he thought they would be down with doing the split and he made it happen. That was the only release that featured Beard on drums before he moved away and I’m glad we were able to document that period of the band’s history with a solid release. There were 250 copies of that record pressed and it’s pretty much sold out, although I do still have a few copies left.

How much has social media helped bands get exposure in other countries and increase opportunities to be signed to independent labels? When you were touring Texas, how hard did you have to work to get word around?
I’m not sure you can even measure the impact of social media. Its huge, a game changer. The possibilities are endless. You have worldwide exposure instantly if someone is looking for your band. Having said that, it does have its downside. I think the internet has made things so easy in some ways that bands don't get out and work as hard at getting known as they once did by necessity. Also music scenes seemed to be more watered down than they were before. I’m not sure you can blame the internet for that or not. The good bands will always get exposure and labels will take notice. The internet and social media is a great tool for furthering the goals of labels and bands who are trying to get their stuff out there. The problem is, it’s a massive sea of data and you still have to do it in the trenches if you really want to get your band anywhere. I’ve always thought there should be a balance. You need a Facebook event page for your band’s show, but I also still believe it’s equally important to make flyers and hang them up at the venue and local record stores and various places as well.
When we were getting ready to book and tour in Texas, Maximum Rocknroll's Book Your Own Fuckin Life was our resource guide. We were able to set up shows and crash pads and everything from that. You made phone calls and wrote letters; it seems like ancient history to me even as I’m saying this and I lived it. When I look back on it all, it’s amazing we were able to pull anything off successfully. We put all our gear in a van and hit the road with no GPS, no cell phones and a paper map on a promise that someone you never met set up a show for you in a town you never heard of hundreds of miles away. My band and countless other bands did it and never gave it a second thought. You'd network with other bands and labels and everyone helped each other out.

Did you and the other band members read Maximum Rocknroll often? How valuable do you consider the zine today as representing punk and DIY scenes in the US and overseas? Does it still have a large readership?
We read MRR pretty faithfully, that and Short Fast + Loud which is a great print zine. I also used to love a zine that is no longer in existence called Monkey Bite. I loved it for the ads and record reviews. It was a great way to discover tons of bands. Again, there was no internet to speak of for the most part so those zines were an extremely valuable source of information. I don't read it as much as I once did, but when I do grab the occasional issue, it still has what it always had and it still does a good job of representing the punk and DIY scenes. I can only assume it has a decent readership because they're still around. The internet hasn't killed them off yet.

What bands are covered in Short Fast + Loud that you have read about? How long has that magazine been in publication and how well does it keep people informed about underground punk zines?
There are tons of great bands featured in SF+ L from all over the world. Punk, grindcore, noisecore, power violence. It’s one of the better zines out there and they do a great job of spreading the word and supporting the underground scene. I don’t really want to name bands because it would just be a list of some of personal favorites. It’s best if somebody has an interest in this music to jump in and start discovering bands on their own. That’s part of the fun, discovering a band, turning your friends onto them, buying their records. I think SF+L has been around since the 90s although I’m not exactly sure when the first issue came out. I know they've been at it for a while and they are good at what they do.

How did you hook up with those labels from France, Poland and Brazil (Underground Pollution, Noise Carnage, Dente Podi) to release your material? How did you go about contacting all those bands you mentioned to release splits with?
The labels contacted us and asked if we were interested in doing the splits with them. Since I run a small label of my own, I’ve made some strong connections and friendships doing trades with other labels. In the case of Underground Pollution, I was a fan of the label and collect his releases, so I sent him some of my band’s tracks just for the hell of it not really expecting much. Next thing I know he contacts me and asks us if we want to do a split. Again it’s all about networking and building solid relationships with other people. Same goes for all the bands we have done splits with, some we were asked, others I reached out to. You have to be willing to invest in yourself before you can expect anyone else to invest in you. If you don't see enough worth in your own band and music to put a little financing behind it, you can’t expect anyone else to.

How long have you been running your own label altogether? How did the label originate and what resources did you have to found it in the beginning?
The label is called CONTINUUM. I started it as a DIY photocopy zine in 1999. I released three short run issues then decided to turn it into a record label. I wanted to get my band’s material out there and although we had label support here and there from other labels, I wanted some control of our stuff. It’s great to have a label release your stuff on their dime but you are also at their mercy as to how long the process takes, how many copies you end up with, how much promotion and backing you really get. No one takes care of you as well as you will take care of yourself. Some labels were super supportive and some took advantage to some degree. Some made promises to release something, you take the time and spend the money to record material and send it off only to never have it happen. That really irritated me as we would send some of our strongest material to a label to represent us on a release. It would be given to them exclusively and then months and months would go by and nothing. Then it never would come out and by the time all this happened, so much time had gone by that it was yesterday’s news and the band was on to different things. Or in one case the band had broken up by the time the label finally got around to putting the record out. I decided I wanted some control of my bands destiny so I started releasing some of our own stuff. I went in blind and made mistakes along the way. For the most part though it’s been fun. It is a true labor of love, because there’s no money in it. The label barely breaks even. I usually lose money and now with international shipping costs so high, it really hurts to trade with overseas labels. But you have to do it and at the end of the day I’m happy to have my stuff out there and I’m happy to have made the friendships I have along the way. I’m at a point now where I will only do co-releases. If I’m going to put out a split 7" or tape or whatever, there needs to be another label or band putting up half the cost. I don't mind handling the pressing and dealing with the record pressing plant and taking care of the business but I just simply can’t afford to release stuff by myself.

How much distribution did Continuum receive when it was a zine? How much more control do you have over band promotions since you founded an independent label?
Continuum did not have any distribution as a zine, which is one of the reasons it became a record label. I only released like 50 copies of the three zines. Copies went to the bands that were interviewed and that was it. The label was an afterthought to wanting to get some vinyl out for some of the bands I was in. It was just a vehicle to achieve that. Suddenly I had a label on my hands and I was like oh shit, now I have to cultivate this and my band. As a label I have all the control over promotion. Doing co-productions with other bands and labels only helps to spread the word. I mostly use social media to promote the releases on the label, but I have and do take the occasional ad out in MRR or SF+L. The rates are expensive but it’s worth it every once in a while to get an ad in a print zine.

Why do you think print zines like MRR and SF+L and independent labels releasing physical CDs have managed to continue in the age of digital downloading and internet zines?
I think there will always be a demand for 'analog' media. I’m sure many zines and labels have been put out of business by the digital age but there seems to be a resurgence. Vinyl and cassette sales are up. I think some people have grown tired of buying 1s and 0s. People have re-discovered the value in having a physical release in their hands. It’s still a very small segment of the music buying public but it all comes around. I love the convenience of digital music but it stops there. The most important thing for a band is to get your music heard, and you have to use every available option at your disposal to achieve that goal.

Do you see more support between bands in the underground these days or do you see more bands stabbing each other in the back? In Long Island, NY in the 90s there was a lot of backbiting going on in the scene. Do you prefer staying in touch with bands who support each other?
I typically see a great deal of support, at least from the people/bands/labels I’ve done things with. Everyone needs each other to survive. A scene cannot thrive if everybody works against each other. Everyone has an agenda and looks out for themselves to a degree but I’ve always found you get more support when you give support. That’s what it’s all about. Working together, helping each other, supporting each other. Shit talking and back stabbing serves no one’s best interest at the end of the day.
I only stay in touch with the bands/labels who support the scene in a positive manner. In all the years I’ve been doing this going back to the early 90s, I’ve only been ripped off twice in trades. That’s pretty remarkable considering all the people I’ve had dealings with all over the world. The scene weeds out the bad apples pretty quickly and that’s especially true now with social media where people can be exposed instantly for being a bad seed.

Do you want to mention who the people who ripped you off were, so that others will know to avoid contact with them? Which bands and labels have been most supportive of the band since it started?
One guy who ripped me off is Alastair Mabon of At War With False Noise from Scotland. I sent him a bunch of stuff in a trade and never got anything he promised me. I tried contacting him at least four or five times by email, the same email we used to set the trade up to begin with, and they all went unanswered. The other was some guy in Indonesia whose name I can’t recall but I did see him pop up on some other people’s rip off lists after the fact. The label’s policy now is if we have never traded before, I will not send anything until I’ve received my half first. If I’ve successfully traded with someone before then I have no problem sending my stuff right out. There are tons of great people in the scene that more than make up for the rip offs. Vivian/Adolf Shitter/Underground Pollution Records from France is incredible. His label and band are top notch and I am forever grateful for his efforts in getting our split out. We had some trouble on our end with some things that delayed the project and he was super understanding and supportive. Patryk/Noise Carnage Records from Poland is another guy who is awesome to do business with. We have plans to do another split release together later this year. I’m looking forward to working with him again. Joao/Dente Podi Records from Brazil put out the split tape with HMC and Sedem Minut Strachu. That dude is solid. Niels/CSMD/No Fucking Labels from the Netherlands is another guy who I’ve had a long standing relationship with. Joao, Niels and my label are working on a 3 way split release that will be out later this year or early next year. There are also plans in the works for a split release with Ben/Agromosh Records/Gorgonized Dorks. I’m really looking forward to that one as well. Marty from Jerkoff Records is another rad dude whose label has supported my band with a release and another one in the works due out this summer. I have to give a mention to Jeremy from Cum Sock and David from Disleksick. Both those guys have been beyond awesome and thanks to David, HMCo will finally make it up to Canada to play in the fall.

The underground seems to be the only industry that exposes and weeds out ripoffs. How actively do you generally see ripoffs exposed in print and on the net? How well does your trade policy work for you?
I don't see rip offs exposed as much as I’d like. It’s good when people do out these people who rip off others. The thing that really sucks about it, in my own personal experience, is they ripped off a guy [in myself and everyone else they ripped off] who doesn't make any money. Who does this for the love of the music and bands. It’s not like they ripped off some major label who has millions of dollars in capital. You are hurting the very people who are operating at a loss in order to keep the scene alive. It’s the worst possible scumbag thing you can do. The one dude in Indonesia just wanted a few free records and scammed me. No big deal, it still sucks, but the truth be told I probably would have given him a few records if he was willing to cover the shipping. Half the time I’m just happy someone likes the records I’ve put out. The other dude is a different story. It was a sizable trade that came with a sizable shipping cost as well. That one hurt because I take a loss in selling the merch I get from overseas trades because international shipping is so high to begin with. That and the fact that the dude runs his own label and whatnot. You'd think there would be some professional integrity there among label operators. That's why I have no problem naming names. Fuck rip offs!!
My policy seems to be working well. I’ve only had to put it into action once and I was totally upfront with the individual I was trading with. He understood and it worked out just fine. Keep in mind, he asked me to do the trade, so I didn't feel too bad dictating the terms. If I request a trade from someone, I will gladly accept their terms if they were to have any. Most of the time, someone is requesting the trade from me and most of the time it’s someone I’ve already established a relationship with so it works out.

I’ve been familiar with Cum Sock for a few years. How much have you and he supported one another’s bands? How about the other contacts you mentioned above?
Cum Sock has been very supportive. We have co-released the split 7" together and his Black Metal project Ostie and another band I was in co-released a cassette together, not to mention the many trades we have done. All of the other contacts mentioned have been extremely supportive of my band and label. I couldn't do what I do without their support and the support of everyone I’ve never met that has bought something from the band. I’m glad there are people out there that dig what we do.

Do your full length releases or split releases generally receive more exposure from zines? Have you gotten to perform with any of the bands you released splits with?
My releases only have gotten exposure from reviews if I sent copies to them, which I don’t always do. Most of that exposure has come in the way of crappy reviews. HMCo seems to be hated by SF+L in particular. Which is perfectly fine by me, it just means our quest to be the world’s shittiest band is working. Like the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad press. We haven’t played with hardly any of the bands we have done splits with, mostly because most of the bands have been from other countries. We did get to play with SETE STAR SEPT in Buffalo, N.Y. in March of 2015 while they were on tour from Japan. That was an insane show. One of the best I’ve ever played.

Quote some of the statements made about your releases in SF+L? In what ways will bad reviews help further the band’s career?
They went on about how they couldn't believe somebody actually spent money getting the record pressed and how we all must be full grown men living in our parents basements. It was pretty funny actually. They are closer to the truth than they realize. Just getting mentioned and having the bands name in print helps get us out there, regardless of what is said. If we piss people off and it gets them talking about us, so be it.

With the overseas correspondence you have been involved in, do you have opportunities to perform in those countries?
I believe there is a good chance that we could perform in various countries. I feel like I know enough people to make something happen. The problem is the expense in getting there [where ever there is]. Flights aren't exactly cheap and unless someone comes along with some sort of tour offer where we wouldn’t totally lose our asses, it’s probably something that will only remain a wish list item, unfortunately. Memo to Japan and Europe, book shows for us so we can come and wreck everyone’s good time in someone else’s country besides our own. Having said that, we are booked to play No London Noise Fest in London, Ontario, Canada in the fall. We will make sure Canada regrets that.

How soon do you expect the band to begin working on material for their next release? How soon do you arrange your next split release and with who?
We always have material in the pipeline so theres plenty of crap available for future releases. As far as how soon the next release will happen and who it will be with, depends completely on how soon someone contacts me wanting to do something.

-Dave Wolff

Monday, May 23, 2016

CD Review: LYNCH PIGS Forced Entry/Livin’ Dirty by Dave Wolff

Forced Entry/Livin’ Dirty
It was bound to happen sooner or later. The emergence of a scum rock band from Long Island. Allow me to clarify the point. Not hard rock. Not glam rock. Scum rock. S-C-U-M R-O-C-K. Spiting beer on the stage, pissing outside and vomiting on the floor rock. The kind of rock that was spearheaded by Mentors, Nihilistics, GG Allin, Murder Junkies and Anti Seen. Not for the politically correct or easily offended, Lynch Pigs brings the atmosphere of NYC dives and squat houses into the backyards of Long Islanders everywhere. Be forewarned, this is not Blink-182 or Fall Out Boy. It’s grimy, heavily distorted, booze and drug fueled, unapologetic punk-based music from the part of New York that the gentrifiers either missed or couldn’t steal from the scene in Tompkins Square Park. This is the exact opposite of the socially conscious fare you see on MTV and other stations, and it makes no secret of this. And it’s alive and well despite the lack of exposure it gets in the local papers; you simply have to know where to look to track it down. I saw Lynch Pigs open for the MJ’s in Ronkonkoma last weekend and was instantly struck by their slightly sloppy heaviness and guttural vocals. Onstage they presented a seemingly insurmountable wall of sound with a solid bass anchor. That the band were nice guys didn’t hurt either. One thing about them and their like is they’re down to earth; no condescending rock star attitudes here. It was generally the same feeling I got attending my first Squat Or Rot shows in NYC and entering a world not shown on whatever programming was in demand at the time. Their EPs Forced Entry and Livin’ Dirty were on the CD I bought following the show. The band’s material as represented there captured the energy they channel when performing. All I’ve described shouldn’t give you the impression the band is untalented, there is as much influence from AC/DC and Black Sabbath as there is from the bands mentioned above. There is more than enough of a capable sense from Lynch Pigs even through their strings and drum heads sound as if they’re covered in dirt and puke. There lies the true appeal of this subgenre, at least from my own perspective: that it can forego convention and still display as much competency as what is produced by bands with more pop appeal. With bands like this around the true spirit of the city will always exist. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Learn English
2. Lynch Daddies
3. Livin' Dirty
4. Force It In
5. Lard Makes Me Hard
6. HateFace
7. Suck My Cock
8. Road Soda
9. Get Aids And Die
10. Random Acts Of Violence

Sunday, May 22, 2016

CD Review: MURDER JUNKIES Killing For Christ Sakes

Killing For Christ Sakes
MVD Audio
In case anyone needed filling in, this band supported the infamous punk singer GG Allin in the final years of his recording career. But it was less a career and more a war on the underground. What can be said that hasn’t been already? Refer to his website for all you need. After his untimely passing in 1993, the Murder Junkies continued as they perceived something in themselves as a band. Their early post-GG career was tumultuous at best, as the band was fighting to escape GG’s shadow and fans were expecting someone to fill his shoes, which according to brother Merle Allin couldn’t ever be achieved (I got this when interviewing Merle for the first ever print issue of AEA). They toured the US extensively and changed lineups several times before disbanding in 1999. Their hiatus ended in 2003 when they performed with GG’s first band The Jabbers and their previously unstable lineup solidified with Allin on bass, Dino Sex on drums, FC Murder on guitar and vocalist PP Duvay. This past decade saw three full lengths that established them in their own right: Road Killer, A Killing Tradition and Killing For Christ Sakes. Many would argue the Murder Junkies are the last true punk band on Earth, considering the politically correct elements in punk and the mainstream’s cashing in on punk fashion. Their albums, never sugarcoated or whitewashed, resound with their rejection of political correctness and mainstreamization in favor of their hardcore work ethic. This album is no exception. If you’re expecting something like Green Day or a pop punk band being driven to a fancy club in a limousine, look elsewhere. Their long years of touring are deeply ingrained in each line sung and riff played. You can feel the hours of traveling from show to show and setting up stage in gritty back alley clubs. Two decades of this has tempered them with experience you can hear just as well. The line “Antisocial is the way to be” from Antisocial basically sums up their attitude, and many are bound to be offended. 17 Dead graphically describes the exploits of Jeffrey Dahmer in a way that rivals the most brutal death metal bands. The title cut urges you to “destroy this town” and it’s hard not to feel the urge. And I won’t even get into their frankness when it comes to discussing sexual relations, but if you’re familiar with them you’ll know what to expect anyway. Do yourself a favor and seek out this fine example of real rock and roll, the likes of which you’re not likely to hear again. Or at the very least preview them on Youtube as there is an extensive number of live shows and interviews of them there. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. 17 Dead
2. Killing For Christ Sakes
3. Fuck Standing Up
4. My Good Whore
5. Your Blood
6. Skin The Kitty
7. I Like Cops That Kill
8. Put Em Up Or Die
9. Antisocial
10. Merle`s Porch
11. Destroy
12. Your Wife Is a Cunt

Saturday, May 21, 2016

CD Review: V/A A Wormhole Compilation

A Wormhole Compilation
Earthworm Productions
This compilation CD was released by Worm, editor/publisher of the DIY print zine A Wormhole which has kicked around since the 2000s . We’ve several trades over that time, and he recently sent me this and a few other promos for review. This compilatio CD consists of bands he in touch with. Little information is provided about them so you’d have to contact him at his email address. It’s a strange mix going from experimental noise (Dull) to country & western (Skull) to death/grind (Circus Geranade) and so on. Circus Geranade have a decent bass sound on their track. “Exit” is cleanly produced with many time changes, and their various influences are collected and arranged well. One of my favorite tracks is “Why Is Metal So Gay” by Stupid Metal Funny. It consists of a repetitive riff as a background for a string of “you know you’re a metalhead when…” jokes. A few that stood out were “…all your clothes are black,” “…you were leather pants in the summer” and “…you wanted to fuck the chicks in Poison.” I thought there should have been more jokes but it brought up a memory of sharing Long Island death metaller jokes with Jill Girardi (Mortal Coil Records, Razorback Records) in the late 90s. Ulfbehrt is another favorite; their song is a fusion of black metal, death metal, doom metal, classical, sampling and effects, all inventively written and arranged. I'd like to hear more of them. Same goes for Makaras Pen whose track "Apeifon" boasts hypnotic guitars and angelic female vocals. In The Moonlight ends the comp with more experimental/ambient noise. -Dave Wolff

Track list:
1. Dull: Intro
2. Skull: Trees In November
3. Circus Geranade: Exit
4. Stupid Metal Funny: Wormtallica
5. Stupid Metal Funny: Why Is Metal So Gay
6. Ulfbehrt: Catalpa
7. Dull: Wormsuckz!
8. Makaras Pen: Apeifon
9. In The Moonlight: Sunset
10. In The Moonlight: In The Moonlight

Video Review: SAVIOR SECT Fair Weather by Rrockhopper

Fair Weather
Savior Sect is Phaedra-vocals, Lucy Poems-strings, synths, lyrics. The music and Phaedra’s vocals were reminiscent of an 80's Siouxsie or Lene Lovich feel in my mind. Lucy Poems’ lyrics are haunting... darkly poetic. The only negative about this video is it only consists of one still photo, though it is atmospheric and fitting in the context of the lyrics. Looking forward to listening to more from their past and future catalogue. Definitely worth checking out! -Rrockhopper

Friday, May 20, 2016

Interview with poet STEVEN MICHAEL PAPE (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with poet STEVEN MICHAEL PAPE

Your last interview covered your book 21st Century Wasteland: Birth Chaos Death. How much recognition has it gotten in the last year and a half?
21st Century Wasteland had pretty good reviews and was accepted quite fondly. It's a book that hopefully will continue to be recognized as a good collection. It took a long time to complete and I'm still happy with it. My last book This Fragile Life also got decent reviews from buyers even though the poetry touched on different subjects.

Were the reviews of Wasteland and Fragle official zine reviews or fan-written critiques like you see at
Most were Amazon related but others came in the form of people who had read the book contacting me to say how much they liked the poems. Certain poems are liked for different reasons it all depends on the person and his or her life.

How long did it take to compile 21st Century Wasteland? Was it weeks or even months before you were finally satisfied?
Wasteland took a few years with writing and editing. My friend Tim Bennett did the art for the cover. You always have to run sample copies past the artist first to see if they are happy with how their art is portrayed and if the text isn't obscuring a piece of it.

Can we acquire any art collections published by Tim Bennett? Has he designed the covers of your other books or anything released by other authors?
Tim’s art is selling quite well recently he did the covers for Observations With Half Closed Eyes and A Closed Mind Is An Open Trap. His work can be viewed and bought at and He does commission work if people want a certain piece of art or say a portrait off of a photo. I own a piece of Tim’s art centering on Jim Morrison in Paris with my poem An American In Paris on it.

How did your poem about Jim Morrison fir Tim’s art? Are Tim’s commissions available for viewing on either of those links?
My partner asked Tim to do the piece as a birthday present for me, so he took certain descriptions in the poem to create the artwork around it. Most of Tim’s work is on his site and he puts a lot on Artfinder for sale.

I usually acquire your books for review through trading. Do you often trade or send out promotional copies of your books? Are 21st Century Wasteland and your other publications still available for people who missed their initial release?
I mostly send promo copies to several long term supporters and friends as well as local press if they are interested in promoting its release. I also give copies to new readers if they show an interest in my work. 21st Century, A Closed Mind Is An Open Trap and This Fragile Life are available on Amazon either as a book or as a download for the Kindle.

Does Amazon or Kindle help get your work around more? What kind of promotion does local press give your books when you send them promotional copies?
Amazon helps my work just having them there. It's easy to order and I can alter the price of my books any time I want to appeal to readers. The Kindle version can be downloaded free for certain users who use the lending option so that's always a good avenue for new or existing readers. Local press promotes my work simply by their articles and pieces. This always helps and is appreciated.

Are any bookstores carrying your publications locally? Do you personally prefer going to bookstores or ordering online?
No bookstores as of yet are selling my book but they are in local libraries which is good. I think in bookstores you can hold and read the physical book but online is quicker for some in this day and age.

How many different subjects were you touching on while writing the material that ended up in This Fragile Life? In what ways overall does it stand out from 21st Century Wasteland and your other collections?
With Fragile Life I was trying to focus on the young and the old, kind of a past-meeting-the-future scenario. I feel that this book and its contents is my most mature and honest poetry to date. I wrote about several subjects apart from just the old and young subjects.

Would you say all your publications have taken on different themes? Is this a deliberate effort or does it depend in the frame of mind you are in when writing?
21st Century tended to follow a more political theme and had more poems about society. I mostly wait until I have about twenty poems and see if they follow a pattern. I will then base the title and cover around them. With This Fragile Life I knew how I wanted the material to come across and planned the poems in advance several months beforehand. I had an idea of the cover I wanted; my hand and my daughter’s. I was happy with the cover my friend Alan Davidson produced for this book.

Is Alan Davidson an artist or photographer? Are there places on the net where his work can be viewed? Do you intend to collaborate with him for future publications?
Alan Davidson is a photographer and a friend for several years. I like his work and his vision. It was interesting to work with him. After discussing This Fragile Life with him he agreed to work on the cover for me as well as doing some promo shots which went into local papers. He can be found on Facebook at present and he is in the process of setting up a website to showcase his work. I'm currently working on a new book with him which will be my poems accompanied by his photographs. A story told through my poems and his visual representation through photographs.

How did you first hear about Alan Davidson’s photography? What spoke to you about his photographs and how would you describe them to somebody?
I first found out that Alan did photography when I saw some shots he had taken of my Nephew for a fashion shoot. His photos are very varied and there is no set theme. It can be anything from nature, people or anything that inspires him.

How are you and Davidson working out this new project’s storyline, between your writing and his photography?
I send Alan my new poems, he looks in his archive of photos to see if he has any that may fit the theme. If he hasn't then he comes up with ideas and runs these past me until we decide on a particular photo to accompany each poem. We have a few we are happy with but it's early days yet.

What’s the projected release date for your collaboration with Davidson? Are you choosing a title for it, or will that come toward the end of your compiling the project?
There is no release date as of yet, I still have poems to write and photos to choose from Alans collection. The title I've chosen will be secret until it's published, but it's a title that fits in with the poetry/photo theme.

What is the collective theme of the poems you planned for This Fragile Life? How many poems did you have to choose from while you were putting it together?
For This Fragile Life I had about forty poems to choose from. Some of these swayed from the collective theme I wanted for this particular book so I didn't feel they would fit into this collection. Occasionally I have to leave some poems out of books if I'm not 100% happy with them.

Do you keep the poems you leave out for possible publication in future collections, or move on to writing new poems?
I sometimes keep poems aside if they don't fit into the book I'm working on or if I feel they need more work before publication.

Are you doing any interviews to promote your books? Are more print zines or webzines interviewing poets these days?
I tend not to do many interviews to be honest, I always try and get some promotion when I publish a new book. If this involves interviews I'm happy to do them. It's all about promoting my work but never about self-promotion.

In what publications besides this one have you done interviews since the beginning of the year? Did you get to present information about your work enough for their readers?
I've not done many interviews for a while I did a podcast for Leftlion magazine in Nottingham but that was to promote my first book The Awakening Soul in 2009.

Can your podcast interview for Leftlion still be streamed today? Tell the readers a little more about this podcast site.
I don't think the podcast is still available as it was in 2009, but Leftlion is still going and has a good readership. The podcast involved an interview and several poems from The Awakening Soul. They host poetry reading nights at a local bar called The Jam Cafe.

You recently had a poem published in Ilkeston Life magazine. Tell the readers about this publication, which poem you sent them and why you made that particular choice?
Ilkeston Life is a local paper published monthly in my town, it has a readership of 11,000 so far but it’s expanding each month. I contacted the editor to express my wishes for his success with the paper and forwarded new poems to him to use as he wishes. Recently he published a Spring poem of mine, then a Summer poem the following month to accompany it. He has several of my poems that he can use as and when he wants. Certain poems I have sent like the ones mentioned before were written especially for the paper in mind, though they may possibly end up in the new book.

Is Ilkeston Life the only local publication that helped expose your work or are there others? Has your work been published in any magazines outside your home country?
A few local papers have been kind enough to promote my work. I still get poems in FM monthly books that are for sale via Amazon and I did a dark poetry section for Gorgeous Freaks magazine from Puerto Rico many years ago. As I tend not to write dark poetry I no longer write for GF but it's a very good magazine for the Alternative and Gothic subculture.

How much reader exposure did you get from Gorgeous Freaks while you were writing for them?
I'm uncertain of their print run and sales. The editor contacted me after reading some of my dark poetry and asked if I'd be interested in having certain poems in the zine.

Are there any new punk documentaries you have gotten to watch lately? The other night I watched the current doc about Kurt Cobain and Nirvana (Montage Of Heck).
I watched Looking For Johnny about Johnny Thunders as I'm a big fan. I also watched Julien Temple's Oil City Confidential about British band Dr Feelgood. I really like Dr. Feelgood as they had a big impact on the Punk scene I believe.

How informative about Johnny Thunders in Looking For Johnny? How much of Dr. Feelgood’s impact on the punk scene covered in Julien Temple’s doc on that band?
Personally I thought it was good to see interviews with Billy Rath and Walter Lure and others involved in his life. I found it indepth and it gave a lot of information about Thunders. There is a mention about Dr. Feelgood being an influence on the punk movement in the doc as they were around a few years before. Their energy on stage is prevalent in bands that came afterward in the punk scene.

Do Billy Ruth and Walter Lure offer any insight into Thunders that hadn’t been common knowledge before Looking For Johnny?
Rath and Lure tend to discuss touring and recording mostly. They went on tour as the Heartbreakers with the Sex Pistols and The Clash so there's quite a big piece on that period.

How many other documentaries has Julien Temple produced altogether?
As far as I know Temple has done four or five docs. The Future Is Unwritten (Joe Strummer) The Filth And The Fury (Sex Pistols) the Oil City doc and recently The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson about Dr. Feelgood’s guitarist. I'm sure he has done one about The Clash.

How does The Future Is Unwritten and The Ecstasy Of Wilko Johnson compare to The Filth And The Fury? In what ways does Temple’s interviewing make his docs unique?
The Future Is Unwritten and Ecstasy differs firstly in the way these two are about one person and Filth & Fury is more about the collective Pistols. Temple likes to include commercials and other things from the era in his docs and he likes to include visual art in them. He’s intelligent and asks good questions.

I noticed a Facebook page you shared on a Sid Vicious documentary. Is that doc released yet for people to view or purchase?
I've no idea when the Sid doc comes out but it sounds like it's going to be good and focus on his murder charge for the death of Nancy Spungen. Apparently there are new interviews associated with the couple around that time in New York.

There was a book published called Vicious: Too Fast To Live that speculates on what really happened the night Spungen was murdered. Do you have a copy or other books on the subject?
I’ve read that book and a few others like Sid’s Way by Alan Parker and one by Spungen’s mother called And I Don't Want To Live This Life which goes into depth about her earlier life up until and after she met Sid. I believe there might be a book to accompany the Sad Vacation doc when it is out.

Besides the project you and Alan Davidson are working on, are you writing poems for another solo collection? There is a poem you penned this month you are posting on your Facebook profile that has gotten some feedback.
I'm sure I will look into maybe a solo book at some time although Tim Bennett has expressed an interest in maybe doing an art/poetry book after I've finished this new one so I think that would be interesting to work on. I don't post on Facebook as much as I used to but do sometimes put new poems up just to gauge people reactions and see if they are liked enough to maybe go in the book.

One new poem you posted recently is called Scratch Cards And White Cider. It was written this month, what inspired it and what were you trying to recapture in those verses?
Most of my new poems are observational; I just write what I see and my take on particular situations. I tried to picture the poverty and despair some people experience if they are out of work with kids to feed rent to pay. Scratch cards are a way to possibly win some money, but like alcohol it can become an addiction like anything else. Everything in that poem is what I have seen; nothing is fantasy.

What is the subject matter you are drawing influence from for your newest poems and the poems you plan to write?
This new book is pretty varied to be honest there's a few about art and photography and nature and just general observations about life and what I see. If I do the next book with Tim it could be the same an eclectic collection.

Which of your new publications do you intend Scratch Cards And White Cider to be part of? Are there poems you have penned besides this one?
Scratch Cards will be in my new book and Alan has mentioned doing some sort of collage to accompany this poem. I'm aiming for 35 poems like This Fragile Life which will of course have 35 photos also so it should work out nicely and hopefully be effective.

Will you continue to publish independently and offer your publications online, or do you plan to eventually get mainstream distribution?
I'll continue as I always have writing poems and compiling them into a book as and when I feel they are good enough. Mainstream distribution would be nice but it's doubtful and I don't dwell on this option at all. If it ever happens it would help but I’ll continue as I always have.

-Dave Wolff