Friday, April 21, 2006

Thumbs Up, Asshole

It seems that Mr Ben Weasel himself has mentioned yours truly on his blog. He posted a picture of himself and the All American Rejects parodying the infamous 'Thumbs Up' photo.

You can view the blog entry here.

For those of you who arrived here because you got linked from Weasel Manor, here's the original photo.

Now, some of you may be wondering how Ben Weasel happened upon the photo and thought enough of it to take the micky. Fair cop. Well both Ben and I post on the Knock Knock Records Pop Punk Bored. It's pretty infamous around those parts and gets bandied around a fair bit. I'd never seen Ben mention or reference it before, but it appears he's a fan.

While I find it questionable who he's associating with these days, I'm pretty stoked right now. You see, during my adolescence, I wanted to BE Ben Weasel. He was everything I wasn't; confident, assertive, confrontational, argumentative, belligerent, antagonistic. In fact, I was fairly meek and timid as a teenager. I took strength from Ben Weasel’s music. Listen, I know it’s hackneyed to say ‘music saved me’ or whatever, and I’ll refrain from romanticizing it all, but I certainly took strength from his music. He taught me that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself, step on a few toes, and that those who do take offence usually aren’t worth your time. While I certainly didn’t model myself on him, as to do so would be self-destructive, I certainly did learn to steel myself against the shitheels of the world. After all, as Aristotle pointed out, virtue lies between two polar extremes.

This isn’t to mention that the man knew how to write a melody or two.

But that's enough introspection and sycophancy for today.

Thumbs Up,

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Record Review: Armalite - Armalite

Melodic post-punk. Sounds like an oxymoron. At least if you were reared on the current spate of no-wave, disco-punk bands whom the point rockets overhead, blowing their asymmetrical haircuts askew. Armalite play angular post-punk similar to Rites of Spring, yet retain the melody and eccentricity of singer and Guitarist Atom’s former band – Atom and His Package.

Armalite are hardly the train wreck you’re probably envisaging. On ‘Armalite,’ Atom shares vocal duties with Dan Yemin (formerly of Kid Dynamite and Lifetime and currently of Paint It Black). While Dan’s past and present bands have relied on crunchy riffage and energy, the appeal of Atom and His Package was surely Atom’s penchant for writing quirky, electronic-driven pop punk ditties. Armalite manage to reconcile the two, never descending into a circus of gimmickry.

Structurally, ‘Unfinished Business’, ‘Husker Dave’ and ‘Other Entertainers’ are angular post-punk songs, and strong ones at that, yet Atom’s vocals instil all the melody and wit he is revered for. Conversely, ‘No Wave’, ‘Entitled’ and ‘Grace (Or The Importance of Being Impermanent)’ are ball-tearing, angular post-hardcore and hardcore punk.

Armalite strike a happy medium between the two genres without sacrificing melody or energy. The guitar tones are thick and discordant and don’t sound flaccid. A problem that has plagued bands like the Explosion, the Bronx and other bands that have taken East Coast hardcore and tried to take it in a more accessible direction.

Four Thumbs Up

Make Up Your Own Mind
I Am a Pancreas (I Seek to Understand Me)