Sunday, October 29, 2017

Record roundup: All over the musical map on this journey

By Andy

*** In the documentary "We Were Feared," which tells the gritty tale of the legendary club the Cuckoo's Nest in Costa Mesa, CA, Love Canal guitarist Eric VonArab gets some screen time. He and his pals know their stuff, wrangled with each other in the pit and devoured a crucial slice of OC punk. On this album, they take those experiences and heaps more along the way and mold them into that classic style that permeated the Nest. Love Canal pummels your speakers with their roaring anthems that would have fit in perfectly with the scene back then and resonate now with the force of a million stomping engineer boots alongside raging guitars and sneering vocals. (Hostage Records)

*** We've seen Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band in Seattle a few times and they've thumped and rumbled their way onto our favorites list. This single provides blasting, stomping rock in the grand Pacific Northwest tradition of the Sonics and Mudhoney and a ton of others. It rocks, it rolls and you need it wedged in your ears posthaste. (Pig Baby Records)

*** Javier Escovedo's latest record is just about as good as it gets. It full on rocks in spots and then lays back just right with the pensive tunes you need after hammering away in the vein of The Zeros, where he cut his musical teeth in the early punk days. With songs like "This Side of Nowhere" and "Gypsy Son" holding the heavy reins and "Searchin' for You" and "Just Like All the Rest" taking the easy-going route, you should be all in with this release. (Saustex Records)

*** The Cheap Cassettes kicked out a hunk of their Plimsouls-inspired rock and roll on Friday night in Seattle and they gave "Worse N' Better" off this two-song tape a whirl about midway through the set. Guitars swung, heads bobbed and hips shook... just the way it should be for stellar tunes like these. (Rum/Bar Records)

*** Um, yeah, the Side Eyes are definitely a band people should have on their radars if they're into tracing rock roll lineages. Vocalist Astrid McDonald surely knows what she's doing at the forefront of this ripping band since her parents showed her who had the beat and how to stand in front of poseur. It's basic stuff that carries on the family and punk tradition with swagger and humor. We caught McDonald and guitarist Kevin Devine joining forces with Redd Kross on stage last December in Santa Ana on a cover of The Eyes' "Don't Talk to Me." Not sure if Chargo was there, but her influence is all over the Side Eyes. (In the Red Recordings)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Mould, Bondi team up again at stirring Seattle gig

Bob Mould bathed in the stage lights in Seattle. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

Whenever Bob Mould and his Husker Du bandmates rolled into Redondo Beach, CA in the early '80s, I was always armed with many questions.

What were they up to writing-wise? What gigs had they played? What bands were hot at the moment that I should take note of? Do you wanna play some basketball or jam in my garage? (OK, so that last bit never transpired, but I did ask my parents.) On the band front, my teenage mind would always come away filled to the brim with a ton of groups that I wanted to check out.

One of the bands that was at the forefront was Articles of Faith, a Chicago group featuring razor-blade-voiced Vic Bondi, who was said to challenge listeners both musically and lyrically. Mind-opening and -bending stuff, I was told.

I was all in... and my friend John and I soon got in on the AoF action via the "Charred Remains" compilation tape and their EPs.

Producer Mould and AoF teamed up on the band's "Give Thanks" and "In This Life" albums, which are crucial platters that add a pop to the old record collection.

So, last night, the two shared a stage again -- for the first time in 28 years -- this time in a solo setting and they have proven to be just as vital musicians as ever. These are the guys who stoked my musical fire back in the day and I was glad to part of their reunion and await what they'll be firing our way next.

At the Crocodile in Seattle, Bondi went six- and 12-string acoustic and tackled some AoF songs ("I've Got Mine," "Remain in Memory," "In This Life" and "What We Want is Free") and other gems from his vast catalogue. It was intense and moving stuff. He growled, smiled and sweated it out under the lights, and set the stage perfectly for Mould.

Like Mould did later, Bondi briefly reminisced about their friendship and how thrilled he was to be playing together again. Mould noted that he had fun working on the AoF albums and that people should seek out and dig into Bondi's records.

Bondi belts it out.

When it was Mould's turn on stage, he unleashed his sonic barrage of electric guitar and gritty vocals on the smiling and head-bobbing crowd for the next 75 minutes or so. He had to battle with his pedals at the start to get his sound solidified, but once all the cords were locked in, he grinded out one crucial tune after another that spanned his entire career.

In an emotional moment, Mould spoke about his former Husker bandmate Grant Hart, who recently passed away from cancer. He said that Hart was a great man and to honor him, Mould flowed into Hart's "Never Talking to You Again" that segued into "Flip Your Wig," the stellar Mould-Hart trade-off vocal song. I found myself singing the Hart parts to myself while eyeing the fans, who were all caught up in a stirring, inspirational night of rock and roll.

More Seattle pics and video clips at end:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dinosaur Jr. guys pound out some tunes with former Laughing Hyenas, Necros members in San Francisco

Fans who showed up for a Dinosaur Jr./Easy Action gig last night in San Francisco were blasted back to the past, Laughing Hyenas- and Necros-style.

At The Regency Ballroom, Easy Action singer John Brannon and bassist Ron Sakowski -- both former Hyenas -- were joined on stage by J Mascis and Todd Swalla -- another ex-Hyena -- to jam on "Everything I Want." Before the song began, Brannon yelled out, "This one's for Larissa!" in reference to Larissa Strickland (RIP), the Hyenas' guitarist.

Prior to that, Lou Barlow -- along with Swalla, Sakowski and Mascis -- tore into the Necros' "Reject." Swalla and Sakowski are, of course, former Necros.

Video courtesy of Dan Kashkooli. Thanks!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

3-point play: Hoop helmets and then some with Endino's Earthworm, Swallow and The Thrown Ups

The Thrown Ups. (All Cat Rose photos)

At Slim's Last Chance Saloon last Thursday night in Seattle, the rock rolled and basketball helmets were a slam dunk with the packed house at the benefit gig for Dawn Anderson, who is battling cancer. To donate, visit

"There's a lot of history in this room," said Jack Endino, referring to people like Anderson, Mark Arm and Steve Turner of The Thrown Ups and Swallow, whom we last saw live in the early '90s at Marsugi's in San Jose, CA alongside the Guttersluts.

Photographer Cat Rose caught the action: