“Black Sabbath” cover by GONGA and Beth Gibbons of Portishead

So it’s pretty much “Black Sabbath” with Beth Gibbons of Portishead singing. Not unlike peanut butter and chocolate or Oreo’s and Milk, these are two great tastes that sound great together, uh, if I can mix metaphors here.

It’s basically a note for note rendition with BG on vox.

And I will, cuz’ let’s face it, this blog is basically going to be what I review when I’m old and senile and looking to reconnect with my younger self.

Plus the Mario Brava flick “Black Sabbath” to the music. Also, it’s from 2014. Late to the party but never late to the show…

These Songs, with a Chance of Repeats

I am a music consumer.

Active. Not Passive. I search. Listen. Absorb.

Song sponge. Yep. That’s me.

These songs have popped up over the last few weeks and I thought I’d do myself a favor by putting them all on one blog post so I could come back and listen to them whenever I wanted and to share them with other folks who have similar, schizoid music taste.

Being a writer and fan of visual story telling, I almost always imagine songs as they’d appear in a film. This ‘film’, that would have these songs is about two ex-members of the New Symbionese Liberation Coalition on the run from Ukranian mafiosos somewhere in Riverside, CA. The working title is “Riot Stares” for that look that people give when they witness some unspeakable violence or shocking act of compassion. Shooting from the hip here folks…

The first is a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Ready to Start” by Tears for Fears. Yes. That Tears for Fears. The same band I proudly and loudly played from my battery operated boom box…shout shout let it all out, ahem…re-imagined Arcade Fire’s song and made it their own. It adds a new dimension to the song. Endlessly listenable.


Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” slowed from 45 to 33 1/3 will set the hair on your neck. This is what ‘doom’ folk sounds like. Or if you drank some cough syrup and forgot to change the speed on your record player.

Beautiful and haunting.

TV On the Radio recently released a new track via Dave Sitek’s label, Federal Prism, called “Mercy.” You can pick it up on iTunes (and hopefully a single on merciful vinyl for RSD) but you can check out the band ripping through the track at ATP.


Los Angeles based artist Chelsea Wolfe is poised to release her forthcoming album, Pain is Beauty via Sargent House this September. She released a preview of the track, “The Warden” some time ago and I keep coming back to it, over and over.

While visiting Wax Trax in Denver, CO this past week I got turned on to Hailu Mergia. His full length was released via Awesome Tapes from Africa on June 25. The LP is a treasure, and even though this song is from his work with the Walias Band, you get a sense of how amazeballs this guy truly is.

Put these songs together and they form a tableau.

A noirish soundtrack about a love triangle and a heist gone squirrely and violent.

Fall 2012 Mixtape – Prolapsed Apocalypse Sounds



At night, secreted away under a freeway overpass,

You listen to the sound of the passing tire treads, hoping, at some future juncture,

A symphony composed of broken geometry will ignite your light.

Finally, freeing you.



Let It bleed 3:55 Goat World Music

Silver Age 3:02 Bob Mould Silver Age

To Carry The Flame 4:31 Old Man Gloom NO

Past Lives 2:22 Diiv Oshin

Having Sex [Explicit] 3:57 Reggie Watts A Live At Central Park [Explicit]

The Man With The Hammer 8:30 Leech The Stolen View

State of Non-Return 6:06 Om Advaitic Songs

The Starchild 10:57 Naam The Ballad Of The Starchild, Movements I-V

Ten Tiny Fingers 5:31 Marriages Kitsune

There Is No God 2:38 Mrs. Magician Strange Heaven

Drug Myself Dumb (Album) [Explicit] 1:19 Cerebral Ballzy Cerebral Ballzy [Explicit]

Dopestrings 5:19 Shooting Guns Born To Deal In Magic: 1952-1976

Anywhere 5:52 Anywhere Anywhere

Please Forgive My Heart 4:31 Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The Universe

Pov Piti 7:41 Matana Roberts Coin Coin Chapter One: Gens de Couleur Libres

Grass Canons 3:21 The Olivia Tremor Control Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One

Troth 5:24 Røsenkøpf Dispiritualized [Tape]

Wouldn’t It Be Nice 2:09 Bullion Pet Sounds: In The Key Of Dee

Sierra Leone [Explicit] 2:29 Frank Ocean Channel Orange [Explicit]

Jet Lag 3:38 Perry Porter & ICBM Paper Moon

Brack Lain 3:57 Clive Tanaka y Su Orquesta Jet Set Siempre No. 1

Ancestral 4:42 Kelan Philip Cohran And The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble Kelan Philip Cohran And The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Cliches, Old Sayings 1:18 Louis C.K. Live in Houston (2001)

Boredom Is Counter-Revolutionary 1:43 Retox Ugly Animals

Kicking 2:35 Torche Harmonicraft

Open Your Heart 3:41 Men Open Your Heart

No Sentiment 3:36 Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory

Gargarismo 5:01 Truckfighters Gravity X

Case of Fidelity 4:00 Greenleaf Nest of Vipers

Captive 4:00 Ume Phantoms

The Daughter Brings the Water 2:41 Swans The Seer

War Elephant 5:08 Native Daughters War Elephant

Midnight Song 3:05 Wild Nothing Nocturne

Apostate 3:22 The Holograms Holograms

Monkey Riches 6:46 Animal Collective Centipede Hz

Endings 3:51 Graduated Cylinders Beginnings + Endings

Eula 6:48 Baroness Yellow & Green

Converge’s Ben Koller: A Well-Rounded Timekeeper

Converge came into existence at the behest of founding members Jacob Bannon (vox, lyrics) and guitarist Kurt Ballou in 1991. Subsequent lineup changes and several albums (met with critical appraise) later, Converge has been one of the most interesting and influential bands in hard core metal today. Their highly acclaimed album, When Forever Comes Crashing, produced by Steve Austin (Today is the Day), found Converge getting into their respective creative groove, solidifying a sound that is both unique and brutal and always evolving.

Though Converge has been around for the past 10 years, it wasn’t until the release of their highly lauded and groundbreaking concept album, Jane Doe, that mainstream metal pundits started taking notice. At which time gave them more footing in not only the hardcore metal scene but also garnered much respect among metal enthusiasts and art rockers alike. The intelligence in lyrics and songwriting make Converge a compelling and formidable band.

Drummer Ben Koller took some time between his busy schedule working a full-time job and recording for the new Converge album to talk to themusicedge.com

How old were you when you started playing music?
I got a drum set for Christmas when I was 13. I started playing in bands a couple years later.

Did you play music in school? Were you involved in any after-school band programs?
Hell ya! Let’s see if I can name them all off. Jazz band, elite jazz band, concert band, pep band and a Blues Brothers cover band. I also took guitar class.

What is your first recollection of music? What inspired you to become interested in playing the drums?
I grew up listening to stuff like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The song that made me want to be in a band was “I’m Not a Loser” by the Descendents.

What are some of your early influences as a drummer? Who are some of your most inspirational drummers?
Drummers in local bands on Cape Cod were a huge inspiration when I was in high school. Some drummers that I dig are Bill Stevenson (Black Flag, Descendents), Danny Carey (Tool), Dave Lombardo, Bonzo, etc. There’s so many, it would be impossible to try and list them all.

What benefits, if any, did you attain from playing music in school?
I learned how to read music and sight-read, I learned from other drummers, built some amazing friendships, built up my chops, learned to play with other musicians (not just guitarists but brass, woodwinds, etc.), learned dynamics (although I always played way too loud), and kept my sanity by having a break from the monotony of the rest of school.

Did you take lessons? What was the most important thing you learned from lessons?
I took lessons for a few years after I started playing. I did a lot of stuff that I probably never would have done on my own like jazz, salsa, Latin, etc. Also all the nerdy stuff like rudiments and reading music.

What is the songwriting process like for Converge?
Don’t ask. It’s ugly.

How often do you get to compose an entire song on drums, and is it easy or hard for the other members to write around drum parts?
Rarely are entire songs written from drum outlines, but many songs start with what we like to call “drum riffs.”

Do you favor speed over technique and style in your own playing, and which do you focus on the most?
It all depends on what the song calls for. In Converge, I try to compliment the rest of the band as best I can while still having a unique voice.

What kind of playing style do you gravitate toward? Converge has some very jazzy bits, and it’s in those bits that your playing really shines. Is this something the band strives for with each release, slowly moving away from the traditional hard core or metal style and into a more freeform improv style?
We write what we think we would want to listen to, and what we write is drawn from so many influences that it can be hard to categorize.

On “Homewrecker’s” intro there are some serious rolls—do you use triggers at all? How important is a double bass pedal, and how often do you use it?
I don’t use triggers with Converge. I never played double bass before coming into this band, and I probably wouldn’t have if the old songs didn’t call for it. When writing new songs I don’t consider using it all that much.

“The Broken Vow” has some interesting timing changes—was that something conceptualized when you were writing with the bass and guitar, or does it just sort of appear out of the creative process?
I’m so used to writing with odd timing and time signatures that I don’t really notice it that much. Ever since I started playing in bands I have grown accustomed to playing non-4/4 rhythms, so it just comes naturally.

What does your dream kit look like?
Led Zeppelin John Bonham custom kit. Clear amber vistalite shells. 26” kick, 14” rack, 16” & 18” floor toms.

Are there other projects you are currently pursuing? If so, what are they? If not, is there any you can see yourself being a part of in the future?
A couple months ago I assumed drumming duties for a Boston band called The Cignal. They’re amazing people, and they write amazing music. With any luck, we’ll be recording the band’s first full-length in the future. http://www.thecignal.com

Do you have any advice for new drummers? Any tips or insights that would benefit someone in the early stages of playing?
When I first started playing, I would practice playing along to The Ramones and The Sex Pistols songs with a boombox and headphones in my basement.
Start a band! Start a lot of bands! Playing in a band is one of the most valuable and rewarding experiences one can have. Start today!

For more on Converge, visit http://www.convergecult.com

Helmet: An Interview with Page Hamilton

I liked interviewing Page. For all the sort of jockular dick swinging his band seems to inspire, the man can play some amazing guitar. He’s also well spoken and articulate, a trait that doesn’t normally extend to many of his contemporaries.  I OD’d on Helmet when they got back together. Slowly realizing that Meantime was sort of their best and that all subsequent (Betty excluded) had that same militaristic marching chug chug thing going on. Not to discredit his contributions to popular hardcore, I think he’s a great writer and musician–fuck it, maybe I’m just old. That and I saw them like five times in a row at SXSW in 06 and a dozen times on Warped when they reformed and put out that record on Lyman’s label. He is really nice and I did get drunk near him and James from Against Me! during an after party during Warped Tour one year. There is my famous person story.

The famous person stories are all the same by the way, it involves drinking heavily and turning around, shaking some dudes hand and thanking them for making music. I’ve been known to nod during conversations that I’m not involved in also. Yes. I’m announcing my uncoolness on my blog, not sure if that makes me uncool-er or maybe I’ve just never been. Nah, I’m definitely not cool.



Helmet is Cool

Helmet is Cool

Like all decades, the ’90s has its importance in the annals of rock history. Aside from the botched corporate-sponsored Woodstock (AKA ‘mud fest’), death of Kurt Cobain and birth of the boy band phenomenon (to name some quick ones), the ’90s had some shining musical moments-and most of them took place somewhere on the fringe of the mainstream. The post-hard-core movement began in New York City with bands like Quicksand, Orange 9mm, Into Another and, at the helm-at least the visible one-was Helmet.



Helmet released their Amphetamine Reptile debut Strap It On in 1991 and inspired a million bedroom guitarists with their Interscope follow-up, Meantime. Meantime was the band’s first commercial success and garnered them plenty of critical praise and a wider fan base. The marriage of hard-driving guitars, drop tuned with vocalist/guitarist Page Hamilton’s deadpan delivery and smart lyrics, made Helmet stand out from the rest of the dying hair bands and solidified the band’s place in history as a trendsetter. So much so, in fact, that this past year Page decided it was time to reevaluate Helmet and bring it back for the next generation of heavy music lovers.


Helmet officially disbanded in 1998. After four full-length albums and thousands of miles covered in touring, it was time to move on. Page went on to become a session musician, working with film composer Elliot Goldenthal doing scores for films like Julie Taymore’s screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s Titus, Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief and In Dreams (Annette Bening) and, most recently, S.W.A.T. Page also toured with David Bowie as a guitarist for Bowie’s album, Hours. During this time, Page was playing with a band of friends under the name of Gandhi, but due to the stress of having a band made up of bicoastal members, Gandhi broke up in 2002.


Page met drummer John Tempesta in 2002, and started jamming with him and guitarist Chris Traynor (Orange 9MM) who toured with Helmet during the Aftertaste tour. The three of them demoed the track, “Throwing Punches,” which eventually made it into the hands of Nine Inch Nails bassist Danny Lohner, music supervisor for the film Underworld. The track made it onto the soundtrack of the film, and the fire for Helmet was sparked again. Jimmy Iovine, chairman for Interscope, contacted Page earlier this year to ask him to produce music for his label and also asked him to return to Interscope with Helmet. Page started by producing Bush front man Gavin Rossdale’s solo project and then made the comeback album of the year with Helmet called Size Matters.


Themusicedge.com recently caught up with Page after a wild night in Vegas playing a date on the SnoCore Tour with Chevelle, Future Leaders of America and Strata. His tour mates owe a debt of gratitude to Page and the sound Helmet helped grow and cultivate.


Page got his start playing music by actively listening to music and says of his early experience, “I went to a school where they didn’t have much that would get you interested at 15 or 16. They’ve got you listening to classical, and all you want to play is Led Zeppelin. They have you singing, “Nothing could be finer than bein’ in Carolina,” and wearing a blue bowtie,. You’re thinking, ‘music sucks!’ Then you hear Zeppelin and you think, ‘music rules!'”


Yet, regardless of taste, Page comes from a strong background where he got his chops going to Manhattan School of Music for jazz guitar. With the current state of things as they are, Page says, “Of all the things they could cut (from budgets), they cut something like music. They don’t even realize the value of it, even if a kid doesn’t want to be a professional musician, they don’t realize that the value of studying an instrument stays with you the rest of your life. ”


Page started obsessing about the guitar when he was about 15. He was introduced to the guitar wizardry of Jimmy Page and his stellar work with Led Zeppelin, and by 16, Page had almost every Zeppelin album except In Through the Out Door. By 17, Page had bought his first guitar, a $40 acoustic, and his goal, like many new guitarists of the time was to learn “Stairway to Heaven.”


“I started fantasizing about being Jimmy Page. I would listen to two Zep records a day from beginning to end. I bought a $40 acoustic and started taking lessons from this guy. He was a good guy, but he said “Stairway to Heaven” would be too difficult for me to learn, so I left and found a teacher who would help me learn it. I believed I could learn to play anything if I wanted.


“I went to college as a pre-med major ’cause I was in advanced math and science in high school, and they basically said I’d be a doctor or lawyer, but soon realized that seeing the sight of someone injured and the sight of blood makes me pass out so I wouldn’t be a very good doctor. I was still really into music, and in the spring semester I got a music teacher and started studying and playing a lot and decided to continue after one semester. I asked my teacher if he thought I could be a career musician and he said I could if I wanted it bad enough. So I started working really hard-12 hours a day. I did a year at the community college ’cause I wasn’t quite good enough to get into the university yet. I took a ton of music classes and some philosophy and English lit and kind of got myself together. Then I auditioned for jazz guitar and classical guitar and got in.


“I got my degree and moved to Seattle and auditioned at the Cornish Institute, but they said, ‘You already have your degree but we’d love to have you here. We could give you another bachelor’s degree.’ But I decided to go to New York instead and give it a go and went to grad school, auditioned for jazz guitar and got my master’s degree two years later. I was obsessed. I literally didn’t go out, and for me it was a wise thing to move to New York without any money ’cause you can literally get swallowed up by the city. I lived in a welfare hotel and worked the graveyard shift from midnight to 8 in the morning. I had a little Fender amp and a Charlie Parker Omni book, and unless something was going wrong, I just had to buzz people in. I worked my way through grad school doing that.


“When I was done, I picked up a copy of the Village Voice and started looking for bands that were auditioning people and that’s how I met the Band of Susan’s. I got into that band and then got into Glen Franken’s guitar orchestra and did that for about a year when I said, ‘Hey, I can write, I can sing,’ and started working on Helmet stuff from there and put my band together.”


As an album, Size Matters is a great way for Page to be reintroduced into the wild, so-to-speak, and the guitar work on the album is earthquake-inducing heavy, yet the mild, melodic delivery and un-obligatory throaty yells from Page keep the spirit of Helmet alive without repeating old techniques. His work in jazz (he’s also taught himself to play trumpet), film and as a session musician have helped expand his musical vocabulary and in turn expanded his creativity when it comes to writing for Helmet. Page paints the picture of the consummate musician, continuously learning and honing his craft, and taking bits of the jazz and classical world and sprinkling them into the sound of Helmet.


When working with film, Page says, “I was just hired as a guitar player to play on the orchestral score by Elliot Goldenthal, who had heard about me through Warner Brothers. He needed some weird guitar stuff, and they called and said, ‘We’re going to hire you to get some other guitar stuff and do this orchestra thing,’ and I thought it was cool. They ended up hiring me and this guy Mark Stewart, who is this amazing guitar virtuoso from New York who played with Paul Simon and can do all the really slick reading and everything like that. I can read but it’s not something you really do in rock. I’ll read a big, slow passage and do it with my sound and build pads under the orchestra, and then work with the composer-mostly just color stuff. So I’ll do anywhere from six to 20 guitars on a queue and let them do what they want with it. It’s really fun.


“This last year with Elliot, I worked on this opera he’s doing called Transposed Heads and worked on S.W.A.T., and those guys recommended me to this other group of guys who did the sound for the movie HEAT, and so I ended up helping them with Catwoman. And worked with Elliot on Collateral.


He adds, “I’ve been really lucky to be able to do a film a year.”


One key aspect for Page as a growing and learning musician was the purchase of a recording device. He says, with regards to self-improvement, “One major key for me was getting a four-track and a drum machine. You spend time listening, putting structures together. It helps when coming up with ideas. You can have two guitars, three guitars-anything goes. You’re in your room working and having that expands your knowledge. Hear different things and become a better musician. For me, working on movies helps me in my writing for my band, playing in my band helps my jazz playing. It has provided a springboard for me to help develop these sonic soundscapes, and I’m a good arranger because of the time I spent with the four-track writing and arranging, which helped me on the Gavin Rossdale solo project. I produced this band Toti Moshi from Oakland who we took on the road with Helmet. All these things are part of being a musician. It’s not just a one-dimensional world, and I would encourage people to not just listen to rock exclusively.”


Helmet hit the road for the SnoCore tour in mid-January and will be traveling with the tour until March 13, where the final stop in is in a very ‘un’ snow-like place: Orlando, FL. Former Anthrax bassist Frank Bello stepped in on bass for Chris Traynor so Traynor could focus on guitar, and with former White Zombie/Testament drummer John Tempesta manning the skins, Helmet is once again a force to be feared. For tour dates and general info on Helmet, please visit http://www.helmetmusic.com.

Slayer: An Interview with Dave Lombardo

So I decided to pull this little gem out of the antique interviews bag in honor of all the sweet metal tours taking place this summer, including Dethklok playing SD this Sunday (Mike Keneally has a rad blog about playing with my favorite cartoon death metal b(r)and from the future on his myspace).

This is also one of my most favorite interviews, which is almost always the case with drummers, who are the most interesting people to interview in the band.  Lombardo is a legend and a cool MFR he even told the labels publicity chick to shut up when she interrupted our phone interview, granting me another few minutes.

Slayer of course, will be spending the summer abroad, touring places that make our little summer festivals look like bitches. They’re doing a co-headlining gig at Hellfest with Motorhead!

Summer is the season for metal \m/\m/

Check out the ridiculous drum solo at the end of the article.



dave lombardo

Slayer’s Dave Lombardo 20 Years of Innovation

Dave Lombardo was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1965, then moved to America several years later and settled in Los Angeles, CA. He was the youngest of four children, and his siblings were part of some of his earliest memories of music: “I remember sitting in front of the TV watching a Tarzan movie, and there was a lot of percussion in the soundtrack, and I remember getting my toy drum and cymbal, one of those Toys ‘R’ Us drum sets that had the spring lugs, you know? And I had put the symbol on top of the drums, kind of improvising-like. I don’t know what I was doing then. Then there is also my brother listening to music when he came home from work. He would listen to Cream and Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin, and this was probably when I was in kindergarten or first grade. Those are my first recollections of music.”

Dave’s love affair with percussion began in his formative years as a student at a Catholic school in Southgate, CA. In third grade, he had brought in a set of bongos and a Santana record and played along with the record during in front of the whole class for show and tell. His father noticed his sons persistent interest in the drums and, according to Dave, “Around fifth grade I got my first kit. It was a little five-piece Maxwin by Pearl Drums. I think I bought it for about $350 and then sold it for about $300 when I got into ninth grade. Then I bought a bigger kit.”

Dave taught himself how to play “100,000 Years” from the KISS Alive record and impressed his peers by knowing the solo to the song. Dave was always a fan of Led Zeppelin and says, “I was very aware of Led Zeppelin but exposing myself to the record Led Zeppelin II showed me a side of music that I wasn’t too familiar with-The Blues. John Bonham played with so much emotion that I felt I learned that element and took it with me through my career. Later I learned this was crescendos and decrescendos.”

He added, “My brother played drums, there was music in the house, and my parents were socialites. So I was kind of exposed to the social aspects of music. Cuban music has a lot of percussion and a lot of very bizarre rhythms and stuff that most musicians these days would not be able to comprehend, but I understood it at a young age, and I watched bands play those rhythms-the conga players and timbale players. So I kind of thrived on watching these musicians play, and they were sweating and really getting into it. The passion they played with is what intrigued me.”

Passion in life and music is a trait that pours out of Dave. Contrary to what many of the cognoscente might think, his taste in music is broad. As a youngster, Dave not only listened to rock music, he also listened to disco, buying 45 singles and listening to The King Biscuit Flower Hour on the radio. He was even a part of the “A Touch of Class” mobile disc jockey team. Dave is a worldly player, so it’s no coincidence he was intrigued by Ry Cooder’s CD, The Buena Vista Social Club, and Wim Wenders subsequent documentary of the same name, which profiled the club and its music. “It was phenomenal. My whole thing on that is that they got back to those musicians that started that thing and they documented it, and if they hadn’t, those musicians would have died and no one would have known about it.”

As an innovator, Dave did most of his craftwork in Slayer and met Kerry King who lived up the street from him. But his chops weren’t always machine-gun fast. His dream was always to be in a band, and he started in school band like most of his contemporaries. “I was in school band for about half of a school year, and I never made it to any of the shows, but I was still in band and all I played was marching drum. I think I had a couple of lessons, but I got really bored with it because they were showing me all these paradiddles and all this stuff, but I felt like-with listening to music-I got a lot more out of listening and mimicking the musicians than reading bars and notes out of a book.

Because my whole goal was to be in a band and I found that through learning these notes and everything at that time, I was like, ‘no way I could learn a lot more listening to this guy than learning from this book and this guy over here.’ But later on in time I felt like I should’ve gone that direction because I would’ve learned a lot more. I would have been way ahead of the game, and I wouldn’t have been left with having to learn so much later on in life. I should’ve continued my schooling. Then, what can you do? A totally different drummer would have evolved out of that training.”

Some of Dave’s other influences (besides his early affection for the music of his birthplace) are, “John Bonham and then Ginger Baker from Cream, but what I was really drawn to was bands as a whole and what the drummer’s contribution was to the band and what the band’s sound was. Instead of just saying, ‘oh I like this drummer or I like that drummer,’ I was more into the musical entity of the whole band and what the drummer contributed to that that attracted me.”

In 1983, a fledgling label called Metal Blade released an album called Show No Mercy by a Los Angeles-based band that had decided on the ominous moniker, Slayer. Ten years would pass, as Dave would go on to record and tour with one of the heaviest and most influential bands in heavy metal. From their days wearing makeup during the Show No Mercy/Live Undead/Hell Awaits days to their stellar work with producer Rick Rubin (Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss), Dave has consistently challenged himself and his fans with his remarkable speed and technique.

Dave’s legacy is living on, not only with his work in Mike Patton’s (Faith No More) Fantomas with Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), but also with his two sons, who are at the heart of everything he does. Fortunately for them, they have better resources to express themselves with. “I got two boys that are in school, and they do have a music program. They go to Discovery School of the Arts. Piano lab, drama courses-it’s great because I never had that when I was growing up.”

Dave is back with Slayer after several years of hiatus playing in his aforementioned projects, and the band is currently playing club dates with Hatebreed and Lamb of God. According to his tour mates and himself, they are “making the opening acts work harder!”

Dave also says as a reminder, “Songwriting is vital! Vital! Everyone is a singular artist but it’s the chemistry of the four that makes it work.”

For more on Dave Lombardo, please visit www.davelombardo.com

For more on Slayer and their latest comprehensive release, Soundtrack to the Apocalypse, please visit www.slayer.net

For more information on Fantomas, please visit www.ipecac.com/fantomas.php



For more information on the Buena Vista Social Club, please visit www.wim-wenders.com/art/buenavistasocialclub.htm








Oaks: Bravo! (A Review)

oaks coverOaks



This 5 song EP from San Diego band Oaks is on one of the most well produced pieces of non-label supported music I’ve heard in a long while, which leads me to believe they might be supported by a label on their next outing. It sounds good in the car, on headphones and through the home stereo.  Thick and viscous is the center flavor in each of these choice cuts, making a filling meal of fatty overdriven bass, slavering rhythm peppered by crunchy distorted guitars and expertly executed vocals.

The band is informed by their former tours of duty in bands like Spermatozoa, Flocking Eduardo and the formidable Tight Bros From Way Back When but, with respect to their former bands, seem to gel much better in this fiery incarnation.  If the Melvins and Jesus Lizard are the uncles of this hard rock family then Oaks and their kindred spirits in bands like The Long and Short of It and Big Business are the trouble making nephews.

This is the type of record you’ll want to listen to loud, not some fucking shitty MP3 either, get your hands on a disc or vinyl if they press any (fingers crossed) at their upcoming release show June 1st at the Casbah. The track “Kix 4 Free,” has been stuck in my head for weeks, popping in and out at weird times like while I’m watching CNN in the morning or riding the trolley to work thinking about what kind of crazy Bas Rutten move I’d like to pull on those officious asshole Trolley cops, using the ‘ambiance,’ while saying, “Dohnt Yu Do Dat!”

I have yet to see these guys live so I’ll reserve judgement on that aspect however they commonly play around town with some of my favorite bands like Archons, The Long and Short of It and Get Your Death On (a band that needs to seriously release that California Condor record already!). So I’ll be witnessing the shred at the Casbah this sunday, even though its technically a ‘school’ night and attempt to under indulge in PBR so Monday ain’t so rough.



Totally Turned Off: San Diego Drum Battle this Monday NIGHT!!!

If the ALL CAPS and exclamation points didn’t scream ‘PAY ATTENTION’ I’m not sure what else to do–maybe it invokes, through words, my voice ala Monster Truck Rally style? Meh…

My friend JP sent me some info on an upcoming event that you should really consider going to see this Monday night. Some amazing local drummers are gathering at Le Club Zombie to hack and slash their way through each other in what is shaping up to be a violent display of male angst and visceral acoustic bombast. 




Gabe Serbian (THE LOCUST)


Dion Thurman (CREEDLE), Brandon Relf (SLEEPING PEOPLE) and more drummers to be announced!

Made Out of Babies: An Interview w/ Julie Xmas


Made Out of Babies are the kind of band that continue to get better with each subsequent release and how stoked was I to hear their latest song “Cooker” from their forthcoming album, The Ruiner, out June 24! I think the fact they keep getting weirder and more complex in their sound is what fascinates me. Vocalist Julie Xmas seems to be utilizing her considerable talents in more ways than just saying words–using her voice to add another element of suspense to the juggernaut rhythm section of bassist Cooper and drummer Matt, while Brendan’s buzz saw and effects laden guitar dances around the chaos.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting a new release from MOOB and so I decided to send Julie some Q’s in advance of their release date. If you haven’t seen this band live, do yourself a favor and go check it out


Who is producing the new MOOB record?

The record would not have become what it is without the help of Andrew Schneider of Translator Audio in Brooklyn. Andrew is amazing. For anyone who isn’t too familiar with how records are made, the producer is as important as any member of the band, and Andrew is definitely a rising star in the audio engineering world.


Do you have a title for it yet?

The Ruiner.


You had mentioned in our interview a while back that your writing process as a singer you often think of the words last and use sounds more than actual lyrics, but Coward seemed more focused lyrically than Trophy did (as a result the vocals sounded more passionate, subject matter was more overt). Is that still the case?

Thanks for saying the vocals sound more passionate with more highly developed subject matter. I can’t tell if I’m more lyrically focused. Sometimes the words do seem to be coming to me faster, but other times it’s like squeezing blood from a stone. I think the key is always the music. If the music is really “for me”, I can usually respond to it fluidly without too many tears and grunts. Abstract vocals are very easy to hide behind. Then again, maybe I haven’t changed at all and it’s you has changed as a listener.


Has your process changed since you started MOOB? Do you utilize different writing/vocal techniques when working with different people like Battle of Mice and do you ‘save’ some things for your main project MOOB?

I respond to different music in different ways. I’m not a good saver. Every time I scream till I almost black out, I know I shouldn’t be doing it. I am weak that way. I tend to do whatever I want despite the cost. Saving ideas has recently come into play with my own solo work, because the music is generally not originating from other people.


How have things been working with your new label The End? What was the reason to work with them and not Neurot for your forthcoming 3rd album?

 Neurot is great, but we wanted to try a new partnership for this record. The End is a growing label with great ideas and we have high hopes for working with them – they seem really driven to make things work and they are committed to the new record, which is by far our best work.


What like-minded loonies are you working with in 08′?

My other personality, My lovely men from Made Out of Babies, the guys from Mouth Of the Architect, the guys from Spylacopa (Greg from Dillinger Escape Plan, Jeff from Isis and John from Candiria), A French Director and French Producer David Blin and Renaud Behar (I’m scoring their first feature length film), Andrew Schneider, Mel Liederman from Victory at Sea/Thalia Zadek, and a few other special surprises that I can’t name at the moment. It is a very busy time!


What can you tell me about the solo record and can what folks can expect? will it be heavy, electronic, ambient, combination of both, anyone producing? is if full band? is it just you and an acoustic guitar?

I would never try to play an instrument and sing. I have great musicians helping me out. The music is big and open, songs I want to sing or have always wanted to sing that most people probably will not like too much. I don’t think I could finish an entire album without expressing very dark feelings, but I also express a sense of hope and amazement at small things in the world.


Whats the possibility of a Jarboe/Julie Xmas collab?

I’ve never thought about it. I wonder if it would work.


When is the next tour scheduled for MOOB?

Summer 08’, we’ll be in Europe & the US. We’ve been taking time off to write and record.


Will there ever be a followup to the Battle of Mice record?

A BOM split with Jesu is coming out on Robotic Empire in a few months.


Did you guys work with Joel Hamilton again on the new MOOB record?

No, but we love Joel. I think we knew before we started to write that Andrew was the right person for this album. When you hear it, you’ll know why. The best – kept secret in Brooklyn.


Thanks Julie. Happy 08. looking forward to seeing you guys sometime this year.

Thank You! This was fun – thanks so much for thinking of me.  Let me know if you need anything else at all!