Full Text of my Interview with Cipher!

Now HERE'S the crazy shit! This is why it's nice to have a blog.

I had my interview with Cipher published in the spring issue of Clamor Magazine. (They're an awesome publication that will appeal to progressives, punks, DIY kids, and anyone who's generally into indie culture/politics.) Cipher is an excellent hardcore band from Long Island who set amazing sociopolitical lyrics to VERY heavy, danceable music.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is the full text of the interview on which my article was based. I've made minor readability edits to some of the band members' typos, but for the most part left their words intact. Enjoy!

DB: I read on your website something about the hardcore scene losing touch with its roots. What do you see as the biggest problems facing the scene today?

Moe: It’s a frustrating and complex phenomenon. As things get bigger - meaning more people buy Hardcore records and there’s more money in Hardcore - more and more people that simply want to profit off the culture and community get involved in it.

Money is not bad. There’s nothing wrong with bands being able to eat on the road or pay their rent off of their music.. That’s a beautiful thing. What’s really wrong is marketing people, executives, PR folks, and others that never went to a show dictating how our culture and community will be depicted and how our stories are going to be told. So now people think that they can buy a few records and wear some clothes and be part of some “underground scene.” In fact, the superficial elements, the fashion, the romance, and the glamour have taken such a front seat, it’s like the music is simply a vehicle for everything else. And people forget that punk and hardcore is rebel music. There’s very little dissent or critique on these records nowadays. People are too busy trying to convince themselves they’re living in a Def Leppard video. It’s amazingly cheesy and trite, yet it sells and it’s surprisingly popular.

It’s American excess with no critique, no challenging commentary, nothing.

Danny: To me the biggest problem facing the scene is the corporate influence. A hardcore show to kids today is nothing more than a concert event. The scene lacks the community of yesteryear. Generally, kids aren’t giving back to the scene, all they do is take and that’s what the corporate world looks for. A lot of bands that get lumped into the hardcore genre, incorporate a modern hardcore musical framework but they lack the integrity, sense of community, and ethic that is hardcore to me and our fellow scene veterans. Hardcore is now more accessible, which isn’t a bad thing for people like our selves who want our music and message to spread. It’s just a different time now. To illustrate, compare your reaction to seeing a kid in with a Bane shirt five years ago, to your current reaction stemming from seeing a bunch of 12 year olds in Comeback Kid shirts. Seeing someone wearing a hardcore or punk T-shirt is no longer a indicator that this person is part of any community.

Another problem facing the scene from a musical standpoint is that there are new bands coming out whose influences are current mediocre metal-core bands. What good is going to come out of that?

DB: To get a bit more specific on that last question: I know you guys participated in the filming of the documentary AfroPunk. I still haven't seen it, but I checked out the website. It looks awesome! Before I saw the website, I would be hard-pressed to name many black hardcore/punk musicians—all I really personally knew of was Howard from Blood Has Been Shed, Carley Coma, and (the obvious) Bad Brains. I could probably brainstorm up a couple of other minority punks—a few Asian dudes come to mind—but it's still obvious just by the lack of representation that there's racism in the scene. And of course there's always been the dark underside of punk, which is the white power movement.

Have you guys encountered racism in the scene? And not just the overt kinds (like neo-nazis). Have you ever had any bad run-ins with punks and hardcore kids who wanted to think they were open-minded, but were actually doing/saying something racist? Do you think the legacy of the original nazi punks has stuck around even though a lot of crews (in the early days) and Anti-Racist Action groups (more recently) have tried to isolate them and push them out? If possible I really want all the members of the band to take a stab at this one.

Moe: Just the other day at a show in Syracuse some kid confronted me and said, “dude, you look exactly like Darryl from the Bad Brains.” I thought that was the funniest thing ever. Funny in an unsetting way, of course. This kid was trying to compliment me and all he could say is “you look like another black dude with dreads.” I look nothing like Darryl Jennifer, or the dude from Stuck Mojo or the dude form Sevendust, or Howard Jones, and we sound absolutely nothing like any of those bands yet we always get comparisons. That type of not-quite-overt racism is stuff we need to deal with everyday. I mean, we actually have a few reviews that start off, “yo, fans of Stuck Mojo...” are you kidding me? Stuck Mojo? Have you listened to Stuck Mojo before? Me neither?!? So to say we sound like or were influenced by them is laughable!! Or “Sevendust fans should steer away.” Hell yeah Sevendust fans should steer away from us! We sound nothing like them.

As soon as they see that there are black folks in the band they immediately assume, “oh rap-rock, or rapcore.” We’re thinking, “have they listened to our record?” Listen to a Sick of It All record. Is that rapcore? A lot of the Hardcore of the late eighties and early nineties from New York had a staccato vocal delivery. Sure we’re influenced by Hip-Hop and other musical forms but a lot of people make unfair comparisons that we feel have more to do with race than anything else. Limp Bizkit is rapcore.

I could go on and on. I think every day we encounter some form of it. Or these “tough guy” idiots who refer to themselves as ”nigga.” It’s like the most insane thing to hear a white kid actually refer to himself like that. It’s tiring calling these kids out. Every single one, every time they say something? After a while I think, “you know, it’s not my job to play racism police to white kids in the hardcore scene.” It’s a tiring and unrewarding profession.

These kids don’t feel comfortable in living out their own identity and culture so they appropriate other cultures in a really superficial way. They think black culture is what they see on TV and they liken that with being tough, so they emulate that. Most of these kids are from the suburbs and any brush with that life is something they elect to experience. It’s like a little adventure for them. It’s a topic I could go on and on and on about. I haven’t even touched the surface.

I could really critique your question. I mean, there’s actually not a whole lot of black folks in punk and hardcore but our contributions are huge. We’re usually doing pretty visible/meaningful things in the scene: putting on shows, in bands, etc. But we’re invisible so a lot of people conveniently forget these contributions. The Afropunk message board has a running list of hardcore bands with black members in them. It’s pretty long!!

It’s funny to say buy often times, people don’t even realize certain people are black, like the bassist of Fall Out Boy. I bet most people think he’s just kinda tan or something. So the fact that we’re being rendered invisible is not surprising. America has a rich history of rendering people of color invisible.

Racism at its worst is insidious and subtle. It shows itself through people you know and like, people you live with or even date, your co-workers, your friends. It’s in us all. White supremacy permeates this society, plain and simple.

You hardly see flagrant Nazi-style racism. What’s more ubiquitous is the racism that plays itself out without stating itself. It’s the type of racism that white people can deny and claim is paranoia, but it’s real and more pervasive and more troubling than some drunk Nazi dude spewing racial epithets.

Mark: Well, I don’t know about the other guys in the band, but I myself have encountered some racism in the scene. I was about to walk into a venue to hand out samplers when a group of white hard-core kids (who happened to not notice me) made a harsh racist comment towards a black man having some difficulty getting out of a parking spot. I confronted them and they immediately left before other people realized what they said or reacted against it.

I generally think that hardcore kids aren't as open minded as what they might claim themselves to be. We live in a world in where racism is subtle enough to where people don't realize what they say might be offensive to others. The only way we can ever eradicate this type of racism is by continuing to confront the ones who speak it, live it, and replicate it.

There are groups that still represent nazi-punk beliefs in the present day. Although we might have anti-nazi they persist. The fact that they feel comfortable shows that we live in a culture that continues to create an environment where white supremacist organizations, Nazis, and others feel welcome.

DB: Let's flip it around and take a look at the positive side, too. A lot of hardcore groups like to say they have a positive message or a message of hope but if you look at their lyrics, there's no basis for that claim—they're just as depressed and hopeless as Korn or anybody else. I was psyched to see that there is actually hope and positivity and humanity in your lyrics. What are some of the signs of hope that you have seen recently—in the band, in the scene, on tour, in our nation? What are the things that renew your faith and give you the energy to keep resisting?

Moe: We played Victoria, TX and to see the heart of those kids was amazing. They really loved music and they dedicated their lives to the Hardcore community. A couple that put on our show had a hardcore wedding. Isn’t that amazing? And this community was so genuine. Mostly Mexican kids, all working class. These kids were not caught up on the hype fashion, and crap that’s been attaching itself to hardcore. It’s good to know that scenes like that are still vibrant. We met a lot of bands and a bunch of kids that were tired of the soap-opera-core. And these kids were putting on shows, playing in bands, making zines. The DIY underground is still alive, we saw it on tour.

Globally, we need to be clear and recognize when revolution is taking place right before us. “The revolution” is a concept that is unhealthy to presume will happen in the future. Not only can it be a very real and palpable thing in our lives, it is really happening outside the context of North America.

Look at the Zapatista movement in Mexico and the very real democratic alternatives to capitalism they’re creating, look at what’s going on Argentina with the autonomous movements, Venezuela and the Bolivarian revolution, and even the movements in Brazil. Look what’s happening across the world. The world is shifting from the structural adjustment programs and the globalized capitalism and looking for alternatives. These are exciting times. We should be very hopeful for the future.

DB: A lot of the issues you confront in your lyrics/song explanations require a very specific vocabulary. To me, it makes sense, but that's partly because I studied some of those same issues and learned the same vocabulary in college. Is it ever frustrating to have that kind of limitation placed on you? Obviously you don't have to be college educated to be part of the resistance, but how do you overcome that language obstacle?

Moe: We never talk down to the listener. Yeah, I read a lot and have a certain degree of academic privilege, but we try to make the music accessible while using everything we have within us to present our ideas. Limiting the words I use would be like limiting the notes a instrumentalist could play. It’s stifling.

Our fans read up on the stuff they don’t get and they actually learn through our music. We’ve had countless fans come up to us after a show and say, “yo I didn’t get the lyrics at first but they inspired me to read up on this or pick up that book and now I get it.” If we dumbed everything down we’d impinge upon their opportunities to grow though the work. However, there is a balance. If your work is super inaccessible, nobody’s gunna get it. That’s one of the reasons we write explanations for each song, to give folks a road map to interpret our music. We give people a piece without spoiling the fun of exploring the work and putting things together themselves.

DB: Ok, here's an easy one: What have you guys been rocking out to lately? Are there any new albums on the horizon that you're really excited for?

Moe: I’m look forward to the new Saigon and Black Star records. I’m listening to Marvin Gaye, Between the Buried and Me, and Bad Brains.

Danny: I’m currently really psyched on the new Ion Dissonance record. The new Coheed and Cambria and Meshuggah rock hard as well.

Mark: I am currently listening to Ion Dissonance's new release entitled "Solace" and I can never get enough of Underoath's latest "They're only chasing safety". I don't that I am looking forward to anything besides the new Deftones cd entitled "B Sides and Rarities"...

More Sketchiness From the Sketchballs at The Webster

As Q-Tip put it on The Low End Theory:

"Music Industry Rule number 4080:

For our purposes, let's include The Webster Theatre in that assessment.

From a recent post by The Sesha Loop on MySpace:

CD Release show POSTPONED!!
Hey everyone,
In light of some new details in regards to our time slot at the Webster Underground, we are postponing the CD release show and cancelling the Webster show on Thursday. We can't in good faith expect our fans to plunk down 10 bucks to see us perform for *20* minutes without even a guaranteed time slot (could be 6:30pm, could be 9pm...). To those of you that purchased tix through us, we'll be happy to refund em for ya. Instead of paying your 10 bucks to the Webster Theatre, use that money to buy our CD instead--we could use the money more than they can!

In case you didn't know, the Webster's policy re: local/opening bands is NOT TO LET YOU KNOW YOUR SET TIME UNTIL YOU ARRIVE ON THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW. This is because they choose your set time based on how many tickets you sold. (More tix sold = later set time.) Not only is this incredibly unprofessional -- how can bands expect fans to show up if they can't give them an approximate showtime? -- but it creates all sorts of ethical problems. I spoke to both The Webster Theatre's owner and the guy who books local bands there. You can read what I discovered here.

You can listen to and buy The Sesha Loop's CD at: http://cdbaby.com/cd/seshaloop

New Pencilgrass Tune!

Shake your ass on over to http://www.myspace.com/pencilgrassmusic

New tunes from Apse

This comes via Apse on MySpace:

We have posted two tracks, entitled Demos - Parts 1 and 2.

They consist of various, spliced-together working/referential recordings the band had originally made for itself, from October 2005 to March, 2006. They include demos that were written and recorded apart from the band - working versions of songs at practices, as well as bits of different live performances. All of the material has been created in preparation for our forthcoming album Spirit - to be released this summer on Spanish label Acuarela Discos. A European tour is to follow in the fall.

Not all of the music presented here, will necessarily appear on Spirit. However, many of the sections are in fact, early/demo/live versions of songs that will indeed appear on the album. We are well into making it - and as always, recording and fully producing it ourselves.

Again, nothing posted here is in its final form - there are no cuts from the album. In 1-2 months, we will be replacing these demos with a pair of tracks that appear on the final release.

Look for Spirit, available in stores, through the internet, and on Itunes this summer.


Things that make me go apeshit crazy #2501: Racist Double-standards

So, I'm listening to Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele, because

  • it's off the hook, and
  • I want to refresh myself on what I like about him in preparation for delving into his newest LP, the critically-acclaimed Fishscale.

And Ghost hits this line in "Mighty Healthy":

"Livin' off land you god damn right I fuck fans king me
Check checkmate props like the micro chip founder
Neck to neck stocks with Bill Gates now."

(The bolding is mine.)

It got me thinking about how the media faults rappers for their promiscuity. Promiscuity is second only to rap violence on the list of "things rappers do that are bad examples for the youth." Question: why is this being painted as a black-only problem? Why don't we fault [white] rock stars for their promiscuity as well? More critically, why is promiscuity so characteristic of musical success in the first place?

It seems rather Puritanical for media pundits to fault ANY musician for their philandering when that same media sensationalizes groupie sex as one of the signs of artistic achievement. It seems equally foolish for musicians to buy into such a worthless standard -- but then, I suppose if you asked most of the "successful" male musicians today why they went into the biz, picking up chicks would rank pretty high on the list of responses.

I fuckin' hate double-standards. Can I get a witness?

Show @ Metropolis Tomorrow (Apr. 21st)

Short. Sweet. Cheap. Come bro down.

These Days Are Ours
Arms And The Man, I Sing

-April, 21 2006
-Metropolis Records
-537 Main St., Torrington, CT 06790
-Cost: $5.00

Bleach Transfusion

All other bands in the world: you can shut up now. Bleach Transfusion officially has the best name of any band, ever.

Oh, but it doesn't stop there. These demented assholes -- who originally conceived the band as an acoustic grindcore project -- actually are good at titling songs and writing lyrics, too!

Whether they're good at playing them -- well, that's up to you.

They just recorded two new songs:
Industrial Center Of Planet Gabriel XIV
Evacuating Carrier Ship 37-B

They sound exactly like you think they do: like the corpulent heavenly bodies of outer space imploding into one cataclysmic, erotic bird's nest of sound.

This may be the most twisted piece of news I've ever announced.

Ok. So you take these two bands. First we've got Welcome. They're like the wonderful people you see on the street every day and you wave to them and chat about small but somewhat meaningful things... AND THEN THEY GO HOME AND UNLEASH THE ROCK MONSTER WITHIN THROUGH A STRANGE MIX OF SYNTHESIZERS AND LIKE 10,000 BONE RATTLING DRUMS. But as soon as they get off stage they're normal again. And they kind of make you want to go, "um, wait a second... weren't you just..." But you know that if you did, you'd totally be the weird one.

And then you take the Smooth Hands. They're what happens when you give computer nerds musical instruments and go, "ok, I want you to talk about your sex life into this microphone." Except the microphone is secretly going to the Pentagon, who are recording everything because they think the Smooth Hands are terrorists. But the more they talk, the more the Pentagon realizes they're not terrorists -- but that they are total fucking lunatics. So they take the sound bites of the Smooth Hands' musical sexual confessions, and start e-mailing them to each other as inter-office jokes.

Ok. So you've got these two bands. What happens if they jam together? Obviously it's got to be the MOST FUCKING DEMENTED AWESOME THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED IN CONNECTICUT.

So, now you totally have to click here.


Porto is kicking ass and taking names at Emergenza!

They've already destroyed two rounds of brutal, limb-mangling competition; now it's time for round three!

Quoth the Porto:

Only ONE of 8 bands moves onto the Regional Finals at Webster Hall! Help us kick some ass!

Knitting Factory 74 Leonard St, NYC / May 6th / 8pm / $12 / All Ages

Getcha tix at:


d_CYPHERNAUTS got some new tunes up!

Peep the MySpace:


The new ones are "Suffer and Sacrifice" and "Murder Music."

The Nauts have also announced that from now on, they are requiring every song title to have alliteration.

Sweet Ass Video!

Whether you know what hardcore is or not, whether you like it or not, you should check out this video. It's for a local band called Wrenchintheworks. And it's a really good introduction to both the band and hardcore in general.


EDIT: I totally fucking forgot that these guys quote me in the video. It SO looks like I'm patting my own back, which was not my intention at all.

I still get freaked out when I see people quoting me on the internet or in press brochures. Having your words published far and wide is a very weird feeling. (Said Dan to the world on his blog.)

Which probably sounds like I am complaining, but I'm not. Let me try to put it into context: to me, that quote I wrote about them was just part of a column I wrote on a Sunday night or Monday morning. If your job is writing, you generate words in such a volume that it's impossible to get really deeply, emotionally attached to each one. And then all of a sudden you see a particular quote or soundbite come back at you, and it's obviously one that someone felt strongly about, since they're including it in their press kit or whatever. It really kind of shakes you up -- it reminds you that even the lines which, to you, are just typical 9-to-5 sort of lines may have a much deeper resonance with someone else.

Or, as Uncle Ben said: "with great power comes great responsibility."

Job Opportunity: Biotechnician/Viral Engineer

Freelance writer seeks talented laboratory technician to engineer and oversee production of small batches of cover-band-killing virus. Pay commensurate with experience. Minimum of 1-2 years experience covering ears, overdrinking in greater Hartford area nightclubs required. E-mail localmotionct at gmail dot com for further details. Please, no telephone calls.

De-Mystifying My Job: Or, How To Get A Job Like Mine

This time, I've been silent for a reason! I've been working on this monster -- the first of several Feature articles I hope to post here. I hope you enjoy it.

Have you ever seen Kurt Vonnegut give a talk? At this point, he is so old that he is basically a dying lung that just happens to have a body around it. He spends equal time in his speech talking and coughing. So I recommend that if you haven’t seen him yet, you do soon. Every time Vonnegut speaks, he says that the title of his speech is “How To Get A Job Like Mine.” He then proceeds to talk about whatever the fuck he feels like.

I thought that was pretty fucking rad. So I’m going to take that as my starting point from which to talk about exactly what it is that I do as the columnist for Local Motion and as a freelance music writer. Of course, there will be stops along the way ;)

There’s pretty much a constant flood of music-related e-mails in my Gmail account. It’s pretty intimidating. Between show dates, tour announcements, requests for press or reviews, and my conversations with artists, it is easily the biggest, dirtiest, busiest inbox I’ve ever seen. Reader feedback is few and far between—it comes in spades when I don’t like a band, though. Imagine that.

I spend a good chunk of time every week sorting through this cluster fuck trying to pull out good show dates and plug them into my calendar. I use a Palm Pilot, which is severely dorky, but dude—it works. There came a point where I just couldn’t remember the date and location of every show I wanted to go to—and I was slaughtering a small rainforest with all the post-it notes I was using to fail at keeping track. Anyway, I’m good with gizmos, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to get on board this Palm thing.

Meanwhile, I get a package in the mail once or twice a week from local artists and PR people who have CDs they want me to check out. This is one of the best parts of my job. I get free CDs in the mail!

Of course, there’s a disclaimer: a lot of them suck. I don’t say this to be dismissive or rude, nor do I say it because I’m trying to project some image of myself as a morbidly cynical critic. (See Pitchfork.com if you want kids who are brilliant at that—and I mean “brilliant” as the worst possible diss imaginable.) It’s just that a lot of these CDs seriously fucking suck. There’s no apologizing for them. There’s no “maybe I need to give this time to grow on me.” You listen to twenty seconds and you’re like, “yup. Coaster.”

Which reminds me: I love it when people write letters to the editor where they say something like, “I bet you just listen to the first two tracks of a CD and then dismiss it.” Um, yeah, I totally do! And you’re telling me that’s unprofessional? Dude, shut up. If you’ve ever changed the channel on your television set, or told your friend to switch the radio station because you hate a song, or sold a CD that didn’t turn out to be as good as you thought it would when you first bought it, then you’ve done the same thing. Critics and writers aren’t some zen, holistic people who give every single piece of artwork a full, undivided chance just because (gasp) it’s art. We have lives, too. Sitting through an entire CD when you can tell after the first track that it’s crappy or amateur—I don’t call that professional. I call that a waste of time.

It’s funny: when you’re surrounded by tons and tons of art, it kind of becomes more holy and less holy at the same time. I feel less callous than ever dismissing someone’s “masterpiece” if I don’t think it has artistic/aesthetic merit (although, at the end of the day, it’s still just one guy’s opinion); but at the same time, I get more amped then ever when something really wows me. Before, it would just be a quiet little surprise in my personal world—now, it makes me want to tell the world about it. And I do.

So anyway. Sucky CDs. Some I sell online; some I donate to libraries (like the one in Derby Neck) who maintain collections of local music; some I give to friends; some I put in the “free stuff” box at Metropolis Records. I never throw them out. I may not like them, but someone out there will, so I try to get them closer to that someone.

The weekend eventually comes. Sometime around Thursday afternoon/evening I start trying to nail down just which shows I’m going to attend that weekend. Sometimes it’s obvious—like if there’s a big festival, a CD release, a good artist in a genre I don’t review much, or a venue I’ve just discovered that sounds hot. Other times, I use those resources you see over on the right side of the screen, and between them and my inbox, I can usually scrounge up something interesting :)

I hit the road in my trusty bucket, usually listening to downtempo techno, death metal, local CDs I just got in the mail, or MP3 CDs of stuff I’ve recently downloaded. (I download a lot of music. I’ve got about 40 gigs of music that I like, and another 15 gigs of albums I have yet to listen to thoroughly.)

When I get to the show, I play it by ear. If it’s at some big venue, I do the press thing and get in for free (another huge job perk); if it’s a small show being run by scene kids or the bands themselves, I pay the admission like anyone else. (I mean, it goes straight into the gas tanks of the bands, so it would be pretty rude not to.)

If the band sucks, I usually slink away and find another show to write about. In general I prefer to use my handful of words each week to point people in the direction of good stuff, rather than warn them about bad stuff. If the band is good, I snap a few pictures with my little Cannon PowerShot—it doesn’t have a very impressive zoom, but it gets decent resolution, and, most importantly, it’s TINY and INDESTRUCTABLE.

I get back home, sit down at my desk, offload the pictures onto my computer—and usually fall asleep.

Sometime on Sunday I start “sketching” my column. I write out my strongest impressions of the bands and venues and crowds I saw during the weekend. Sometimes it’s a particular musical moment, like an unexpected twist in the song or a crafty technical flourish. Sometimes it’s noticing who the crowd responds to. Sometimes it’s noticing how the band shapes their sound to fit a given venue. I record brief accounts of these moments, and also jot down words that I feel accurately describe the band’s sound.

At this point I let the writing part sit and stew for a little while. It’s amazing what good ideas one can get in the bathroom :) I also pick out the best pictures of the band, throw them into Photoshop real quick, make minor touch-ups and alterations, track down the names of any band members in the photos, and upload the photos to my editor.

Then comes the tough part. I settle down with a couple beers (if it’s Sunday night) or coffee and a muffin (it it’s Monday morning) and crank out the column. Some weeks it pulls itself together right in front of my eyes, and I have a winner in less than two hours. Most weeks, though, it takes between 3 and 4 hours to write. Finally, I title it (SO HARD to do—dude, a good title is so hard to come by), and ship it off to my editor.

And if the writing process has gone anything like it did this morning, I usually stand up from my keyboard and faceplant into my pillow.

Tuesday Nights, Transformed (New Hartford Open Mics)


Suckiest night of the week.

For real! You can't gripe about it being Monday, but the better part of the week is still ahead of you. And if you go out on a Tuesday, you automatically feel like an alcoholic party animal with no sense of duty to society.

Which you basically are anyway, you scumbag. So seeing as there's really no hope for your moral growth and development, why not go out?

If you feel like hip hop,
Filthy Kleen is starting a new open mic at MiBar (1995 Park St.) that will carry on the legacy of their old Tuesday night hip hop open mic at Sully's.

If you feel like rocking out,
Andre Balazs (ringleader of the band of vagrants known as Bipolar Jukebox) is starting a new open mic at Sweet Jane's (88 Pratt St.). He says the audio there is sweeeet. They also plan on incorporating a "featured artist" spot into the set.

With hosts that good, you better believe both of these spots are going to blow up. You read it here first.

And while I'm in a complainy mood,

Can somebody PLEASE explain to me what the deal is with whores in metalcore lyrics? Specifically, why they're in every other verse?

I mean, is it supposed to be some kind of sociopolitical commentary on selling out and whoring yourself for fashion? (Because this got big WAY before MySpace. I mean, even Dillinger Escape Plan was screaming about whores on Calculating Infinity back in '99. And that was before the guys-wearing-girlpants explosion and LONG before those fucking studded punk belts were suddenly around every sorority girl's waist.)

I mean, do these men actually USE whores? Do they KNOW whores (biblically and/or non-biblically)?

Is it some kind of metaphor for postmodern malaise? Because I'll tell ya, bub -- the whores have been around for a lot longer than postmodernism.

Actually, can somebody just explain to me why 98% of metalcore lyrics fucking suck?

It's enough to drive me to listen to Elvis Costello or The Pixies or Tom Waits or some shit.

My TOTALLY INADEQUATE List of Reasons Why I Haven't Updated My Blog In A While

1. Sikth is finally getting a stateside release with their new album -- and the track they're sneak-previewing from "Death of a Dead Day" is fucking SICK.

2. Anime Insider magazine has been giving me tons of assignments! It's a great little rag -- pick it up next time you're in Blockbuster.

3. I found this video for my favorite song by Animosity, and have been watching it over and over and over... San Francisco + grindcore + house party + gold teeth + sociopolitical commentary = LOVE!

4. I finally watched Lords of Dogtown, and holy shit -- I NEED to practice skating more. It wasn't an amazing movie (between Lords and Thirteen, Catherine Hardwicke is proving to have an annoying penchant for imagining California as an all-permissive Fairy Land which she seems to never have had access to. The geography of Lords in particular has the same quasi-pathetic reek as an adult who becomes a teacher at his former high school so he can finally be the "cool guy" there.), but it was pretty good -- especially in the way it portrays the three main friends fighting and splitting up. MASSIVE tension between them as they choose separate paths in life. Plus, skateboarding. I mean, fucking rad, right?

5. Rent Girl by Michelle Tea makes me want to find her and confess my undying love. The girl writes AMAZING sentences. I want to die.

6. World of Warcraft. Yup! Dorky.

7. I've been homebrewing beer. There are five gallons (!!!) of IPA fermenting in my closet right now. How hot is that?!

8. I've been ebaying shit like mad to pay for my huge tax check and recent car tune-up. Make no mistake: freelancing will pay the bills, but it ain't makin' anybody rich.

And oh, I almost forgot:

9. OkCupid -- because, god DAMN. Who do I have to fuck in order to get laid in this awful state?

More updates coming soon. Promise.