Camp Lo- Uptown Saturday Night (1997)

While Camp Lo, Uptown Saturday Night made the Billboard Hot 100 it is still easily one of hip-hop’s most unknown classic albums. Since I mentioned it in a previous post I felt obligated to bring write a post about them.

Actually, I am not going to write about Camp Lo. I will introduce them with a quote from how I was introduced to their music;

“Yo, you haven’t heard Camp Lo?? Here, check them out. They’re dope”

DL

old fort at NSB

Kamphar- Mellon Skogkledde Aaser (1997/2004)

What ding-dong dreamed up the idea to “digitally remastered” this album? Emperor started that stupid trend. While that album did sound like it was recorded in a cave with a bear being water-boarded in the background. But that was the exception, not the rule. Messing with the original version of an album has the same mentality as moving Confederate war memorials. It is an attempt to make history “better” instead of allowing future generations to make their own judgments.

Bands want to make their work as good as possible, but at the same time I want to listen to a 1997 album, not the 2004 reworked version of the album. The raw, dirty, analog sound was what made Black Metal and brought it to the attention of the world. Cleaning up this album changed what was originally a blackened pagan/folk sound to Viking Metal/ Symphonic Black Metal. While good, great really, it is not the album that I wanted to review.

Here is a review that explains and dissects the album in great detail. richieblackmetal is more generous and forgiving giving it 85%. I can’t label it a dumpster fire, but by 2004 the best symphonic black metal album had already been out for seven years. This work is akin to Bob Dylan reworking Blowing in the Wind in a hip-hop style. Remastering Mellon Skogkledde Aaser destroyed it’s historic relevance. It was a piece of the Norwegian black metal story and now it’s just another album.

The Danger Room

I know why it is called the Danger Room. Josh is lactose intolerant and is totally comfortable with drinking milk and generating truly vile odors. It’s that and a reference to moving the heavy ass 16 track reel-to-reel recording machine down flights of stairs. That thing weighs more than a full sized Lake County princess. But it really is the holy grail of analog recording.

When Josh first bought that machine I thought he was just eccentric and wanted to be in debt for the rest of his life. Then I heard the sound. The Hazel Street version of “Die When You Die” made me understand why bands were driving in from different states to be recorded by him.

That was more than a decade ago. Since then he has gotten more equipment and even more skillful at his craft. So hit him up if in Florida and in need of recording services. Just beware, there will be some gnarly sents involved.

Here is a link to another Danger Room recording that I reviewed.

Church of Misery/ Sourvein split (2006)

Split-albums used to be the way underground bands got to “viral” status. Back in the pre-internet days they would introduce band’s fan-base to one another’s. Bands on tour would trade albums and merchandise along the way at different venues and a good show with two or three touring bands would end up becoming a miniature scene record shop for a few hours.

The Church of Misery / Sourvein split is a great example. I am somewhat familiar with Church of Misery. They are a psych/doom/sludge act hailing from Tokyo but are pretty much a European band. They always seem to be playing with some band that I know, like or love. Sourvein, I have “heard of” them, but can’t remember much other than that. Metallum labels them as sludge/doom which is correct.

This the quintessential split because starting out I knew little about either band and after listening to this album I am a fan of both. A sludgy, psychedelicy masterpiece that comes highly recommended 90%.

download and Bandcamp

Hieroglyphics ~ Hiero Oldies Vol. 2 (1998)

The kid skating is doing some sick slappy curb stuff, but the music… It sounds like 90’s era West Coast hip-hop, but the structure is East Coast(ish) as well some elements such as horns, piano and the collective/collaboration format. It is surprising that I had not heard of Hieroglyphics, collective out of Oakland, California. The best comparison would probably be Camp Lo (I will post about them later, but another underground favorite.)

Growing up in Florida in the 90’s the knowledge base for “scene” music was very regional. We all knew the East and West coast hardcore, punk, emo and ska bands as well as possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of traditional ska. Underground Hip-Hop, Rap, Bounce, or whatever you want to call it, was incredibly hard to find in the 90’s. Obviously, since I am just now hearing about Hieroglyphics. This is an excellent album, 95%.

Hieroglyphics

Wiki

DL

DL

Dawn- Slaughtersun (1998)

Album reviews of 99% are gross exaggerations. Almost always. Going to Metallum for evidence I stop at the first review, utterly amazed.
Slaughtersun is definitely in the top 1% of all metal albums. Dawn is Swedish blackened-death metal and Slaughtersun came out in 1998 back when death and black metal were genres with well defined parameters. Yes, Metallum labels them as “melodic black metal and death metal”. That is wrong. Blackened-Death is a distinct sub-genre.

Back in 1998 there were two restrooms, male and female, no family restrooms. Trans-gender and gender-identity were not common terms and Black Metal had screeched vocals and tremolo riffs. That was not considered “melodic black metal”, it was just black metal. The change in terminology and labels does not help, it just makes everything more confusing. In the years since this album the black metal sound has been more thoroughly explored which explains the change in nomenclature. However, Slaughtersun is still blackened-death metal.

And what an example it is, a friend of mine played this CD on repeat for three days straight after it came out.

dl

Festival Recon, Roadburn part 2

Festivals are the cruise ships of the music world. Large venues created specifically to generate profit through prolific mass consumerism. Which is fine, however, Florida has 8,436 miles of coastline and good weather almost year around. A music festival really needs to be a stellar event for me to justify putting on shoes and socks. This is part two in a series exploring weather music festivals are worth traveling to attend.

Roadburn 2019 began late on a Wednesday with a few bands that hold absolutely no interest for me, which isn’t a big deal. The line-up for Thursday begins with acts such as Myrkur. At first they seem cool, but that impression quickly passes with cheesy vocals and generic guitar riffs… no, no, no. Sherpa was playing at the same time and their 2018 album Tigris & Euphrates is psychedelic, mellow and a solid vote in favor of attending. After that Crippled Black Phoenix played and I thought they were supposed to be good. However, after watching their official video of Northern Comfort and I was unimpressed and underwhelmed.

Next Bismuth is playing and while I had not heard of them until researching this festival, they are defiantly a vote in favor attendance. Slow-core/sludge, awesome.

Great Grief, Icelandic “hardcore” was playing the Hall of Fame stage at the same time. Listening to their official video, Ivory, it sounds good at first, like proper old school east coast hardcore. Then quickly it devolves into bad metalcore. This is a textbook example of why metalcore is a bad word to so many people.

Another band playing at the same time is Molasses playing as “commissioned music” on the main stage. Listened to their EP Mourning Haze & Drops of Sunlight and it isn’t bad, but they seem to be trying to hit three genres all at once, like a mellow version of L7 imitating Luca Turilli with a surf-rock sound popping in occasionally … no, not so great.

Treha Sektori is playing Thursday as well, but experimental dark ambient does not motivate me out of my chair much less across the Atlantic. Who wants to watch a dark ambient band play? That sounds horrible and I like the genre.

Rakta is playing Thursday as well, but again, experimental post-punk does not sound appealing. That’s the type of thing that will either be really good or wretched and not a vote in favor of attending.

Hexvessel is Finnish psychedelic folk rock, they have a different sound anyway and pretty good. I probably wouldn’t sit through their entire set but I would go see them play, for sure. On another stage is Slægt, a Danish band that plays proper black metal. Definitely a vote in favor of going.

Emma Ruth Rundle, oh no. Let’s just leave it at that. Petbrick, no. Experimental noise? Fotocrime new post-punk, no. Crowhurst post-black metal, mediocre at best. Ovtrenoir it sounds like a butt-rock/hardcore hybrid. Bad vocals are pretty lame coupled with cheesy generic guitar riffs, come on now. Mono is experimental soundscape with a female vocalist and pretty good.

There were some good bands playing during the first full day of the festival. There were also quite a few stinkers as well, so the final post in this series will compare my conclusions to those of someone who attended.

The old British Fort at NSB

Festival recon, Roadburn, part 1

Music festivals pose a problem. They are far away from the recliner. I have to get up, put on shoes and then I still have to find a bag when I get there. Then half the bands are going to blow anyway. A daunting proposition involving a lot of effort and movement for an uncertain result.

Initially there was the idea of attending the Maryland Deathfest which is supposed to be the best metal festival in North America. However, Maryland in late May holds the promise of sweating profusely, slight dehydration and jock-ich. Maryland is infested with Yankees as well, so scratch that idea.

Roadburn would be next on the list, mainly a stoner and psychedelic rock festival with a few metal acts thrown in for good measure. A five day event held during April in Tilburg, Netherland with an average day time high of 58 degrees. It sounds more reasonable than deathfest. The plane ride is a deterrent, but Sleep is playing multiple sets and that is compelling.

The 2018 Roadburn line-up was stellar and I honestly regret not going. Greenmachine, Bell Witch, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor played among many other notables. This year there were a lot of questionable acts playing. But questionable does not mean bad per se, so this bears further investigation.

Festivals really do pose an enigma because no one wants to spend a couple of grand just to see crappy bands play. Can stay home and do that. The promise of seeing a handful of stellar acts all at the same venue is quite tempting as well too. Next post I will investigate some of the acts that played at Roadburn this year and in the last compare my conclusions with those of someone who attended.

The old British fort, NSB

DL

Punk/Rock show in New Smyrna Beach

New Smyrna Beach is an old Florida beach town with a tourist problem, 300 surfable days a year and a surprisingly vibrant local music scene. People move there to get away from the traffic and noise of Orlando. A quiet little surf town full of familiar faces half remembered from blurred memories of half forgotten venues.

Obviously a punk-rock show there is an event not to be missed, so I booked a room, packed a valium and drove the 50 miles to NSB arriving just in time for drinks with friends before the first band set up.

The first band, IVVI Berry was good, groovey Shoe-Gaze. They claim to be Math Rock, but whateves. They put on a good show, however I felt the need to make fun of them for some inexplicable reason. I’m guessing a glance at the comments in their high school yearbooks would explain my gut feeling on the matter. Either way, it was a good set and found a pair of Costa sunglasses and a hash oil vape pen on the ground.

Birds on a Kill started off their set with a lot of energy and since this is Florida not everyone was wearing shoes; dad punk at it’s finest.

Around their third song things became fuzzy and I began experiencing personal earthquakes, possibly brought on by IPAs and whiskey. Nothing too serious though, the quakes being in the area of 5.6-5.8 on the Richter scale. I managed to snap a picture of the moment. Things were getting lively and I needed to seek shelter back at the hotel room, quickly.

“I’ve known Matt a long time, and when he starts repeating himself he is pretty hammered” -Danger Dobbs, member of the search and rescue team.

Because of the adverse conditions I missed Rush More‘s set, but I am sure it was stellar. In fact, my departure was so abrupt that friends mounted an abortive search and rescue effort. Despite numerous strategic and tactical difficulties my withdraw to the hotel room was completed with a minimal of casualties. I happened to be struck by falling debris. Or I fell into debris.

Regardless of the inherent hazards of falling debris and personal earthquakes, the show was a roaring success and I am looking forward to the next one.