REVIEW: Mr. T: Mr. T’s Commandments

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Way back in 1984 Mr. T was on top of the world, so what better time to release a rap EP? Seemed perfect, and well, it was. Columbia put this out and I’m glad this exists because it’s pretty damn great. The songs really have a good message for kids, staying off drugs, not getting kidnapped, things like that…but you’ve got Mr. T raping so most people are going to over look this and enjoy it on a whole different level. On the other side of things there may be some surprising names most notably Ice-T, yeah the same one.

‘Mr. T’s Commandment’ The funky intro song complete with record scratches, you know you’re in for a great album once this hits.This is basically the song that lays the groundwork for the rest of the album, it basically says “listen to Mr. T and the Bible”.
‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ With the title you can guess what this is about,what you couldn’t guess is what a sensual soul/R&B song this sounds like. It’s pretty….odd.
‘The Toughest Man in the World’ Back to the rap game, with some sax and funk added in for flavor. This one basically says ‘you’re strong if you make the right choices in life’.
‘Mr. T, Mr. T (He Was Made for Love)’ Basically a parody version of the Bobbettes’ ‘Mr. Lee’.
‘The One and Only Mr. T’ I can practly picture Mr. T and Hulk Hogan dancing in the background as this song plays. It’s pretty much about how great Mr. T is.
‘No Dope No Drugs’ This actually sounds like a recycled song from the Hulk Hogan album, or I guess it would really have to be the other way around. Again you can guess what it’s about from the title, no tricks here.
‘You Got to Go Through It’ Mr. T does disco, you know, ten years too late. Really a throw away song about how ‘you gotta do it’. I hope this was a last minute add on.

  1. Mr. T’s Commandment
  2. Don’t Talk To Strangers
  3. The Toughest Man in the World
  4. Mr. T, Mr. T (He Was Made for Love)
  5. The One and Only Mr. T
  6. No Dope No Drugs
  7. You Got to Go Through It

Get Mr. T’s Commandments from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: Matt Pless: Requiems for Wishing Wells

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There was a pop punk band called 3 Prong Outlet, they were pretty damn good but only put out three releases between 2000 and 2003. From the ashes of that the man that was at the helm of that band tries his hand at more of a folk rock style. Everything is a little different but you can tell he hasn’t abandoned the pop punk neighborhood, what we end up getting here is somewhat of a pop folk rock fusion sound that really sets Matt apart from the flood of folk that seems to be coming out of the punk community today. This is a great album no matter what you’re listening to. If you like good music chances are you’ll dig this.

‘Zero to the Third’ Like a folk rock song with a really upbeat feel and pop punk vocals, it’s a great way to start out any album.
‘Paintchips and Fingerpaint’ This starts out so low you can just barely hear it and the volume slowly comes up on it, which gives it a little haunting feel to start out. It comes into a pop folk song that’s such a high caliber of good it kind of caught me off guard.
‘Madeline’ An easy going acoustic song here, it makes me want to hang out on the beach at night and listen to it.
‘The Joker and the Fool’ Another great song here, catchy acoustic pop. I could listen to this song many many times in a row. We even get some harmonica on this one.
‘Cartwheel’ Lyrically this is damn close to a pop punk song, which it does have elements of but it still holds tight to the folk rock core of the rest of the album.
‘My Dark Room’ Like Madeline this one has more of a relaxed feeling to it. One of those real easygoing acoustic songs that you can’t hate on.
‘What You Will’ A catchy acoustic pop song with a reality check attached to it. This might be my favorite song on here.
‘Shy Violet’ Sounds more like a 70’s rock song than anything else, but that’s a good thing.
‘Fliptop Box’ A 3 Prong Outlet cover, this might even be better than the original version, though they are very close. It’s just a damn good song.
‘The Faded Fall Down’ This is another song that reaches the top of the best of the best list. A pop rock jam that is sure to stick with you for a while.
‘The Gypsy Life’ We’ve got a pretty sad and depressing song here, but one of those ones you like listening to.
‘The Ballad of D.I.Y.’ This is a song that reminds me of 3 Prong Outlet but acoustically. As you might guess from the title it’s a song about punk rock, kind of a bio-song and it’s real goddamn good.

  1. Zero to the Third
  2. Paintchips and Fingerpaint
  3. Madeline
  4. The Joker and the Fool
  5. Cartwheel
  6. My Dark Room
  7. What You Will
  8. Shy Violet
  9. Fliptop Box
  10. The Faded Fall Down
  11. The Gypsy Life
  12. The Ballad of D.I.Y.

Get Requiems for Wishing Wells from Amazon HERE

REVIEW: Doc Hopper/El Secondhand: Please Send Help

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Right off the bat the first cool thing you notice about this is the Vertigo cover and back, so you know you’ve got something good here. What we have on the inside is a split CD with Doc Hopper and El Secondhand, its nine songs, but only two of them are originals, the other seven are covers. I think what this does more than anything else is really show the talent of the bands, the reason being is not are only all the covers really good but the best songs are clearly the originals. Now the whole reason I bought this was for the Doc Hopper side, so let’s start there. Their first song isn’t the best song they’ve ever recorded but I think it’s solidly in the top ten. Their second song is a Replacements cover, one they do really well; I would have figured it was a Doc Hopper song if I didn’t know better. Then they cover Black Flag, which you might think would be weird, but it’s not at all. They give it a Doc Hopper edge without fucking it up, after hearing it a few times I started to forget it wasn’t theirs. Closing out their side of the split was a thing that completely caught me off guard…metal riffs start, I immediately recognize the song, yes, and it’s Doc Hopper covering Slayer. Now El Secondhand also covers Slayer, twice. El Secondhand by far has the best Slayer cover with their second try at it, but both bands do this pretty well, especially considering that they’re nothing close to a metal band. It’s pretty damn cool. As for the rest of El Secondhand, their original song is hands down the best song on the CD. As said I bought this for Doc Hopper, and I’ve never even heard El Secondhand before but this song just completely floored me. It could slide right in on any 90’s or current pop punk mix CD without missing a step. Their second song is an Elvis Costello cover; it’s better than anything Elvis Costello ever did, I fucking love this cover. And before they go all metal on us El Secondhand kicks it back a few years and throws in a Buddy Holly cover. Buddy Holly is one of those touchy things I think, a lot of people cover him, most do it decently at best, there’s a ton of bad covers, but this is among the best. It’s done as a straight forward Buddy Holly cover, stays true to the songs form and everything, I think that’s what really makes it work. Overall this CD might be one of the best splits I own, it resided in my car’s CD player for a solid week just playing on a continuous loop. It was put out on ADD Records a while back and if you don’t own it you’re completely missing out!

Doc Hopper:

  1. Meister
  2. Kids Don’t Follow (The Replacements)
  3. I Love You (Black Flag)
  4. South of Heaven (Slayer)

El Secondhand:

  1. Things Fall Apart
  2. Oliver’s Army (Elvis Costello)
  3. True Love Always (Buddy Holly)
  4. Behind the Crooked Cross (Slayer)
  5. Mandatory Suicide (Slayer)

Get Please Send Help from Amazon HERE

INTERVIEW: All Eyes West

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When and how did All Eyes West become a band?

Basically, in the Spring of last year (2010), Rick and Jeff had been hanging out and decided to jam on a new project. Rick knew me from way back and asked if I was interested in playing bass. I had briefly met Jeff years earlier through a friend in Arizona, funny enough. Anyways, I was down for it. We got together at my space one afternoon and basically wrote the first 2 songs. They felt good and we had a good time playing together, so we just kept it up. Every time we’d play, we’d have a new song or new idea. We just had a good dynamic in the room. So, here we are!

Where did the ‘All Eyes West’ name come from?

It’s paying homage to an old band we all dig!

How is it being a punk band in Chicago right now?

It’s a great city to be in! There’s a pretty diverse scene here. Lots of different stuff going on. Plenty of venues for bands to play. TONS of great bands!
Yeah, it’s great!

You went out to the UK for two weeks in June, how’d that go?

It was such a blast! Our buddy Jimmy Islip (frm The Magnificent) hooked us up big time with that! It was such a great experience! For me, it was my first time over so I was just blown away that we were THERE! The shows were all great! I feel like we really made some fans on that tour. Definitely made some good friends! The UK definitely has a tight scene of bands/promoters going on. The country itself is just beautiful! And the ALES!?!?!? Brilliant!!!
But yeah, it was such a great tour for us. We hope to be back over there soon!

Any big difference in touring the UK than America? Did you find it harder getting shows over there?

We really lucked out with the booking. As I said before, Jimmy really hooked us up big time over there! Cheers, mate!

Touring over there was pretty much the same as over here in the US. I mean, it’s a different country and all, but the scene is pretty similar. People who dig music/art helping out people who make music/art. It seems the scene over there is just a little tighter-knit. But it’s also a lot smaller than the US. In the UK it seems easier to be in touch with what the neighboring cities are doing. It’s cool!

I hear you’re heading back out on the road this fall, what’s that tour shaping up to look like?

I’m hoping it’s a little cooler (temperature-wise) than the tour we just finished! We just got back from a trip out to the East coast. There were heat advisories out, and we’re riding around in a van with no A/C! Some of the shows were just deadly hot! But we still had a blast!
The Fall will see us doing some Midwest/East Coast dates. We’re hoping to get down to the Southern US before years end. Stay tuned!

What’s the best and worst thing about touring?

The best thing is just playing music with your friends in a different city every night! Never seems to get old. On a bad day you can wake up from 2 hours of sleep, feel horrible, sit in a van for 9 hours and start to get super bummed… but then the second you start playing, it all makes sense! It’s all too good of a time!
The worst part would just be missing your loved ones back home. It’s gets hard being away sometimes.

What was making the album like? Any unexpected problems?

Recording the album ended up being just like band practice, in a way. Jeff (guitarist) records over at Million Yen Studios right here in Chicago. So he manned the controls and we just went through our songs a few times. We pretty much flew through it. It was such a comfortable situation. We didn’t over-think it at all. It ended up sounding real good to us, so we thought “let’s just put this out there!”

What did you like best about making this album?

Like I said, it was totally comfortable and there was no pressure. We were just jamming our songs and there just happened to be microphones everywhere. When we went in to record, it really brought us together as a unit. After having the songs on tape we finally felt like a real band! It was a nice turning point in the evolution of the band.

I had heard that the album was going to be released on Academy Fight Song what changed it to Jump
Start Records?

Well, it’s a long story. To sum it up, we were excited to work with Academy Fight Song… but things just weren’t happening the way we wanted. Jeremy at Jump Start had been interested in working with us from the get-go. So, after we decided that AFS wasn’t where we needed to be… we called Jeremy again. Ever since he took over, everything has been great. He’s excited about things and is a hard worker. He’s also a no b/s type of person. We’re super happy working with him! We actually ended up staying with him a couple days on this last tour. He took such good care of us and was a really fun guy to hang out with. PLUS, he brews the most amazing beer and is super generous with it! Ha! Thanks Jeremy!

What are you listening to the most now a days?

Lots of Status Quo!

Any records (besides your own) are you looking forward to this year?

The new Samiam record! Luther (philly) has a record coming out in August. Those guys are great! Also can’t wait to grab the Archers of Loaf reissue! So glad those guys are doing shows this year!

Anything else you want to add?

Thanks to everyone involved in making this band happen!

SHOWS I SEEN: Insubordination Fest 2011 – August 18th-20th 2011 – The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD

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Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Thursday, Friday and Saturday August  18-20th 2011

Well Insubordination Fest 2011 has come and gone. I got beer in the eye twice, kicked in the head and the jaw, elbowed in the eye, bruise on my shoulder and a bloody ankle. On top of that my ribs, arms and feet just hurt like a bitch in general, but it was a great weekend. After Sonar caused the hell state that was last year Insub was moved back to the Ottobar, where it turned out to be a million times better. Sure there was a little down time between bands or when the one band you didn’t care about played but you needed it. There were fewer bands than last year but just as much party to be had, The Ottobar was rad and let people hang out in the alley, even with drinks. Thanks to everyone that makes this happen and to Sick Sick Birds for making sure everyone doesn’t starve. So here’s basically what went down.

Thursday (Pre-show):

Shutouts - Missed them, I started Insub by fucking up right off the bat.
Barecat - These guys were really good, glad they played. I will be looking into them more.
Army Coach - I guess I had these guys overhyped in my head, it was kind of a letdown but they were pretty good.
Dead Mechanical - Dead Mechanical is one of those bands I’ve seen more than I can count, and I’ve never seen them have a bad set. It was nice to see them play on a stage for a decent amount of people though instead of at the Art Space all the time (no disrespect to CCAS, best place!).
Direct Hit - My first time seeing Direct Hit and they did not disappoint. Plus they played Werewolf Shame, so everything was great.
Max Levine Ensemble - I was outside for this one.
The Young Hasselhoffs - Maybe the biggest disappointment of Insub. These guys were so flat, it was kind of boring.
The Connie Dungs - Great set, except they didn’t play two of the songs I really wanted to hear, and I was unaware just how weak the singer’s voice really was. Besides that though it was great, they played for an hour and a half, it kind of reminded me of seeing the Queers. They played one A Radio With Guts song too, but it wasn’t Werewolf Weather.

Best sets of Thursday: Connie Dungs, Direct Hit, Dead Mechanical, and Barecat.


The Marshmallows - First time I’ve seen the Marshmallows, they were really enjoyable, I will be looking into them more too.
The Firecrackers - Much like Dead Mechanical I don’t think the Firecrackers are capable of having a bad show. I’ve only seen them about six times but they are one tight band, always a pleasure.
Be My Doppelganger - Apparently some internet jerk (not this one) told them the beach party last year was dumb, so they were all business this year. Despite the lack of the party on stage Be My Doppelganger was still really great; they played all the jams you needed to hear. And even though there was no beach party, they still had to play a few songs shirtless.
Mixtapes - Another first for me was seeing the Mixtapes. I figured they were going to put on a good set but they were actually way better than I expected. They played a balls out set and left the acousticy stuff at home.
Jetty Boys - I’m not sure what it is about the Jetty Boys, every time I’ve seen them they’ve had a good set, but they just can’t seem to make it a great one. Unfortunately this one stayed the course, it was some decent stuff.
The Dopamines - What can I say about the Dopamines? If you’ve ever seen them before you pretty much know how it went. Drunken fun the whole way through, these guys never disappoint.
Kurt Baker - Outside time.
Mikey Erg - Best time I’ve ever seen Mikey Erg. This is the closest you’ll come to an Ergs set without the Ergs. He played a bunch of Ergs tunes, some of his own, did a bit of covers and a Psyched to Die tune, make that the best Psyched to Die song. My voice was totally gone after this. He started to play
Danny Vapid and the Cheats - I unwillingly missed this.

Best sets of Friday: Mikey Erg, The Dopamines, Be My Doppelganger, Mixtapes, Firecrackers.


The Quarantines - Always a good time seeing Quarantines. They might not draw the biggest crowd but people seemed to be into it, as they should. As a bonus surprise they had the new 7″ there which I promptly bought.
Sun Puddles - My first time seeing Sun Puddles, the audio seemed a little off but it was still a good set. Hopefully I’ll get to see them a bunch more.
Karmellas Game - Outside break.
The Murderbugers - I missed most of this set but about the half I saw wasn’t bad, not too amazing though. I might have to look them up.
Slow Death – One of the highlights of Insub was seeing the Slow Death again, a last minute addition and a great one at that. I love this band so much, it had laughs, it had good jams, and smoking on stage, what more could you ask for?
The Gooningtons - The Gooningtons are going to rule the world and it started at Insubordination Fest 2011. They had a great set that was super fun. Played the fan favorite song twice in a row and ended with ten minutes of the band members switching instruments.
Vacation - My first time seeing Vacation, they fucking tore it up. Not only are they a great band but they might have had more energy than any other band the whole weekend.
Iron Chic - Iron Chic is another one of those bands that are just good enough not to ever put on a bad performance. I’m really glad they were here; singing along to these songs is always a good time.
The Potatomen - This is a set I’m kind of bummed I missed, I needed a break though. I caught two songs, both ruled.
House Boat - I thought Mikey Erg may have won the fest, until House Boat played. I’ve seen them a handful of times and its always great fun, as was this one. I guess it only make since that their set was the best since they have put out the best pop punk album in years just recently. They even played two Steinways songs (Everybody Loves Raymond and Dead Boyfriend (Which they dedicated to Michelle)).
Emily’s Army - Here’s a band I almost wish I’d have cut some more slack. I was outside most of their set because I’d heard all bad things. I happened to catch their last couple songs and they were pretty good. They seemed like they were having the most fun ever too.
Dear Landlord - Dear Landlord is a lot like the Dopamines, you always know you’re going to have a lot of fun and it’s going to be a great set. Always having a blast seeing Dear Landlord.
Kepi Ghoulie - Missed this, probably shouldn’t have.
The Copyrights - The Copyrights are kind of like Dear Landlord lite these days. It was a killer set and a lot of fun, but after Dear Landlord’s it just wasn’t as good.
Chixdiggit - Maybe the band I was most excited to see, however they were also the biggest let down of the weekend. When they played they were great, the problem is they didn’t do a lot of playing. Now I like a band that jokes and talks a lot (Dopamines, any band Grath is in) but this was just too much. They played for somewhere around 20 minutes and the other hour and a half was “LETS HEAR IT FOR THESE SHIRTS” “LETS HEAR IT FOR CHIXDIGGIT” LETS HEAR IT FOR KEPI” “LETS HEAR IT FOR ___” you get the idea. It was pretty funny for a while but after the 45th time the joke was running thin.

Best sets of Saturday: House Boat, Slow Death, Vacation, Dear Landlord, Iron Chic, And The Gooningtons.

By my estimation House Boat won Insub followed closely by Mikey Erg, The Dopamines, Slow Death and then Vacation. But there were a lot of excellent sets and it was a great fucking weekend.

Releases Worth Getting August 16, 2011

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Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges
Quarantines: Zombie Army 7″

Dexter: The Fifth Season
Demolition Man
John Carpenter’s the Ward
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Season 9
Muppets Take Manhattan
Muppets From Space

SHOWS I SEEN: Best Friends Day 9 Friday – August 20th 2010 – The Canal Club – Richmond, VA

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Best Friends Day 9 *The Canal Club* – Richmond, VA

Friday August 20th, 2010

Savage Brutality: Walked as they were playing their last song, it wasn’t bad.

Deep Sleep: Deep Sleep totally killed it. My 14th time seeing them and it was one of the top 3 sets I’ve seen them play; the crowd seemed to love it too. So much fun!

Municipal Waste: My 13th time seeing Municipal Waste and, well first off Waste played rock stars and took 30 minutes to come out after they were all setup. Then they opened up with Sweet Attack and I thought it was going to be an awesome set. However after that they launched into all new shit (and I mean shit). I left the front after about 5 songs. They played very few good old songs and even those weren’t all that great played. Their old drummer came up for an old classic which was pretty cool. But overall it was not a good set at all….maybe I’m just jaded from seeing them with 15 people in basements, but I don’t think so. It’s really not even the same band I use to see.

Andrew W.K.: 2nd time seeing AWK! The first was with a full band this time it was a man, his keyboard, and a CD. Andrew proved once again that he is fun incarnate. No matter what the situation this man has fun and so does everyone around him. I was already tried from the rest of the show (and some pre-show car mechanics) but somehow I was magnetized to the stage by fun. I may have broken a finger at the end of it I was spent, I’m still not sure how I was standing, most tired I’ve ever been in my entire life, everything was worth it. I’ll see AWK every chance I get until I die. THIS MAN LOVES HAVING FUN!!

Propagandhi: I saw Propagandhi once before, it was last year. This was not only their only US show this year but their only show this year, and holy shit was it great. They ruled the first time I saw them but they took it to the next level this time. They were so incredible I almost couldn’t believe it. The set list was great, they were tight, even threw in a couple cover songs. At the end I was over on the side hands on knees sucking air just totally done. Then they come back out and announce “We’re going to go way back in time and play some stuff that we never play, here’s something from 1989” and somehow I was up at the stage again in less than a second. Propagandhi = set of the year.


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