It’s been a busy year for Comeback Kid. The Toronto-by-way-of-Winnipeg based hardcore act have released their fifth LP Die Knowing and are currently in the opening months of a year of touring that will carry them around the world. Before their set at Rock City Studios in Camarillo, California, I had that chance to talk to vocalist Andrew Neufeld about their new record, the band as a whole, and keeping things fresh after over a decade of being one of hardcore’s premiere bands.
I’ve been listening to Die Knowingfor a couple months now, and I’ve noticed that you have incorporated everything that falls under the guise of “hardcore” over the last twenty or so years into the sound of that record. You cover everything from crew pit parts, to big Ignite hooks, to just pummeling the listener on the heavier end of it all. How do you go into writing a record like that? Is that something where you say you’re gonna cover all this ground, or does it come out naturally?
It just kind of… we just write a bunch of songs, really. Actually with this record it wasn’t until we had a whole mess of them written we sorta sat back and said. “wow,” because there’s a lot of heavy songs on the record. In my head the record is kind of split, a little bit, because it starts off with “hard” hardcore, ya know…
Fourteen years ago, Refused played what, up until last month, was their last show in a grimy basement in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A crowd of only forty or so people saw what is arguably one of the most influential bands of the last twenty years implode in the haze of infighting and police lights. Ten years ago I was first shown their landmark album The Shape of Punk to Come in the back of a high school Spanish class, with the mystical allure that “you will never ever get to see this”. Viewing the too esoteric for its own good documentary Refused are Fucking Dead only seemed to drive this point home. For all intents and purposes “dead” was what they were going to stay. That is why earlier this year when it was announced that Refused were reuniting for a slew of festival dates it came as a shock, not only because of the years of still spiteful attitudes but because for just about everyone who has ever listened to The Shape of Punk To Come Refused’s absence was an obvious given, just like gravity or E=MC^2.
With their Coachella appearance the day after, last night Refused sold out the Glass House in Pomona in seconds in what was by far one of the most talked about festival one offs in a week full of great word of mouth club shows. At 10 PM the lights at the Glass House began to dim and a low drone started to…
One often wonders that were Cee Lo Green to compose a Christmas track, would it sound anything like ‘Fuck Christmas.’
The short answer is no – for one thing, he’d probably release 11 censored versions before finally sticking the original out of sight mind at the arse-end of his Christmas album. The long answer is also no. The intermediary answer has yet to be confirmed but is believed to also be no.
As far as Christmas songs go, ‘Fuck Christmas’ probably occupies the same level of notoriety as Dog Soldiers does among werewolf films: everybody in the know knows the score, but nobody in the know is worth a fuck in the grand scheme of things. ‘Fuck Christmas’ wasn’t even deemed worthy of inclusion on Fear’s one work of note: 1982’s The Record. It ghosted in on reissues of the underrated hardcore band’s finest record.
As Christmas songs go, ‘Fuck Christmas’ has it all: a romantic, Dio-like proto-metal intro; rich Dickensian imagery; lots of them vibrato things on guitar; the “bad” F-word. More importantly, it flips the entire Christmas carol concept on its head. Frontman Lee Ving sings “don’t despair, just because it’s Christmas,” depicting The Most Wonderful Day of the Year, quite rightly, as the miserable, regret-filled season that is for many of us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
And at just 45 seconds, it’s short enough that you can listen to 106 times in a row without getting bored. Hoo-ha!
When asked to make a playlist of summer jams, most people immediately think to include chill music. Music meant to complement feeling good, soaking up sun, swimming pools, et cetera. The archetypal summer playlist has a little bit of classic rock, a little bit of hip hop, definitely some reggae (though not much more adventurous than Bob Marley), and for those who like to kill many genre-birds with one stone, just a bunch of Sublime.
For me something feels hollow about these playlists. For me summer is not some hazy crossfaded daytime party, but is more like a sweaty, heated game of capture-the-flag. Whether it’s soccer, tennis, skateboarding, teaching myself NOFX guitar solos (2000), or failing to learn Between the Buried and Me guitar solos (2003-present), summer is fast and engaging. To honor the nostalgia I have for the unchill summer I wanted to post a track by an unknown (or maybe just forgotten) hardcore band, Someday Somehow.
“This Is How You Left Me” is short, simple, and ridiculously poppy. The recording quality is mediocre at best. The drums are galloping and the guitars are punchy. There are breakdowns that aren’t self-conscious and contrived. The lyrics are adolescent but unabashed (“I’m throwing rocks at your window / I’m singing under the lights / I’m holding my heart in my hands / Is that alright?”). There are few songs as effective as “This Is How Left Left Me” at conjuring the whimsical, hopeful energy of summer, and to think an obscure…
Last week when we published our Top 100 Albums of the Decade feature people were most happy to see Gospel’s The Moon Is a Dead World make it into the top 10. The timing of the feature couldn’t be better. Though Gospel have been dormant over the last few years, they are now writing and recording, having released a few demos earlier this year, and just today made their new song “Tango” available for pay-what-you-like download through bandcamp. “Tango” makes good on Gospel’s two sides, featuring heavy chaotic drumming and departures to moody jam passages. The band had some words to say about the song as well:
A few weeks ago we got really fucked up at Colin Marston’s place. This is part of the end result. The song describes a ritual suicide; A summer jam for the indoor kids. We are releasing it as a digital single, pay-what-you-wish.
I’ve been a fan of most the music that Peter Steele has put out including Carnivore and Type O Negative. Based on that, I’m not going to jump to any conclusions based on all of the news that’s floating around right now – we’ll save that shit for a different day. I did want to take this time to highlight his band prior to Type O Negative, though, because they were always a bit underrated in my opinion. Their first album was kind of sloppy thrash but their second release, Retaliation, was straight up hardcore with a huge streak of sarcasm and a warped sense of humor. None of these songs were supposed to be taken seriously, they were just supposed to be so incredibly stupid that they were funny. Of course, when Peter became famous through Type O Negative critics returned to this album to accuse him of everything from racism to homophobia to just about everything else (prompting the song “We Hate Everyone” on Bloody Kisses). Anyway, hopefully Peter is somewhere sleeping in New York (it is only 11am)…
- Jesus Hitler
- Angry Neurotic Catholics
Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version…
Sick of it All is a hardcore band out of New York. These guys are about to come up on their 25th anniversary and are planning to release their ninth album, Based on a True Story, on April 20th.
The two tracks that have been released from this album are already proving that the band haven’t lost a step during those 25 years. They still play no-frills hardcore that can kick your ass, and although they’ll probably never surpass their 1992 album, Just Look Around, this one looks to come very close. That’s all the review these songs need – check them out.