SOME STUFFS: House Of Pain return for 20th anniversary tour

Everlast and Danny Boy O’Connor reunited as House Of Pain last year for a small amount of shows, and now they’re bringing things into 2011 with a tour.

The tour honors the 20th anniversary of their debut album on Tommy Boy Records. The promo photos do not show DJ Lethal and his image in the poster blocks out his face so it’s safe to assume he is not a part of this reunion (maybe Limp Bizkit plans to tour in 2011). Here are the dates for what they’re calling the He Who Breaks The Law tour, which will bring Big B, Slaine, and Sozay on the road as well:

3/15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
3/16 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
3/17 – Las Vegas, NV @ TAO Nightclub
3/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ House of Blues
3/19 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
3/22 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
3/23 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Music Hall
3/25 – Tyler, TX @ Clicks Billiards
3/26 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
3/27 – Corpus Christi, TX @ Brewster Street Ice House
3/28 – Baton Rouge, LA @ The Varsity Theatre
3/30 – Sebastian, FL @ Capt. Hiram’s Resort
3/31 – Orlando, FL @ Beacham Theater
4/01 – Miami Beach, FL @ LIV Nightclub
4/02 – St. Petersburg, FL @ The State Theatre
4/04 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
4/05 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
4/08 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
4/09 – Toronto, ON @ The Sound Academy
4/10 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
4/13 – Dekalb, IL @ Otto’s
4/15 – Chicago, IL @ Cubby Bear
4/16 – West Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom
4/17 – Minneapolis, MN @ The Cabooze

Future dates are in the works.

VIDEO: Blueprint’s “Keep Bouncing”

Adventures In Counter Culture is the forthcoming album from Blueprint due out in April, although if you are a Blueprint fan, you’ll know that the man has released music on a regular basis in some form or another, so consider “Keep Bouncing” his “blueprint in the making”. The video was directed by Optical Alchemists, so put them to work too.

Adventures In Counter Culture can be pre-ordered right now via Amazon, click the link below, and if you like “Keep Bouncing”, Amazon has that track available in a number of ways as well.

REVIEW: Dead Western Plains’ “Alta”/”Gift Horse In The Mouth” 7 inch

A new 45 on Fort Lowell Records means good things, or at least it means when you put a bit of faith in a young record label, you anticipate what they come up with and this is one of those “good things”. Dead Western Plains and Fort Lowell share something in common, and that is the place they call home: Tucson, Arizona. They now work together for this new release.

“Alta” is a nice power-pop tune that reminded me of Icicle Works‘ “Whisper To A Scream” in how it’s presented, with an infectious melody and hook. It rocks but has enough of a pop sensibility to make it a popular song, and the electronic interruption before the first chorus was a shock but a nice addition. The intro of the song made me think of Van Halen‘s “Running With The Devil” and then The Hooters‘ “And We Dance”, and then I started having random 80’s earworms, and maybe that’s the point: a bit of influences from the old to get me familiar with the new (which is generally how most music works, but still.)

“Gift Horse In The Mouth” is a bit more gritty, as the band take on a 3/4 time signature, bring in an organ and a shuffling drum groove to create something that sounds like would work in an incredibly hot and sweaty club at 12:45am. This one sounds more 60’s influenced than early 80’s, think of The Animals‘ “House Of The Rising Sun” with a more psychedelic Bay Area impact, and when the song breaks down to nothing but acapella harmonies, it’s brilliant. You’re taken away from what the song conveys and allows the listener to realize where they’re at at the present moment, then the drums and bass enter the mix again and you’re put back into the song. Pop craftiness is beautiful when it understands itself and when the guitars come in and go for the kill, you’re left soaking in Dead Western Plains’ bloody musical hands. Give the murderer a kiss. Dead Western Plains “Alta” by FortLowellRecords

(You can order the 7″ directly from Fort Lowell Records by clicking here. To hear more music from Dead Western Plains, download a radio show appearance with an interview and performance by heading to

REVIEW: Seven Sisters Of Sleep’s self-titled album

Photobucket My awareness of Seven Sisters Of Sleep came after coming across an album by Oak called II, a solid block of doom metal that was eerily slow and disgusting, and I wanted to know more. That lead to me finding out abo8t the A389 Records, which lead to me finding out about a new release. I did some searching around, found some incredible music on YouTube with custom-made videos featuring clips from movies that were either considered disturbing, freakish, or banned altogether. I became a fan right there, and I had to order their album.

Seven Sisters Of Sleep is more of an EP in the traditional sense: 8-songs clocking in at just under 20 minutes, but what you get in those 20 minutes is some of the most mindblowing stoner/sludge metal you will have heard, and metal that’s damn good. As it begins, things start off very slow, the pace crawling up to the surface in a deliberate manner with walls of controlled feedback, almost in a Melvins/Sleep fashion. If you stare at the cover,you see a three-headed demonic beast in the middle of what looks like advertising executives or parents of Cub Scouts who know their time on Earth will be shortened, with brutal lyrics such as:
Room and board for the sodomites, paid by the faith
the fucking faith of shit
Murder everything, void every idea, every soul, every cloth
Where they are now and forever

It’s meant to be dark and menacing, you may end up thinking about your motives in life. Then things are brought back down to Earth in “Passed Out Standing”. Even with a line like “4 in the morning, this fucking flat smells like coffee, dogs, and loss”, you immediately get a sense of what that means because it may very well be you he’s singing about. The lyrics about menacing priests (“CCEC”), working for the man (“Swamp”), and politics (“Beirut”) could easily be thinly-guised metaphors for something else, but they’re very direct and to the point. If the songs suggest suffering, the brutality of their playing is meant to bring you down to your knees so you can feel the suffering too, or at least bang your head in honor of other sufferers around the world.

What also moved me to buy this album was the quote from writer Mike Cheese who said Seven Sisters Of Sleep create “stoner jams for people with short attention spans”. They have all of the intensity of a band who know how to extend songs to lengths of 10 minutes or more, but compress it as if these were to be hit songs, as if this style of metal was the latest teen beat sensation. It’s not. This is music made more for the disciples of Lord Satana, and they welcome you to join in their reign. Incredible music.


SOME STUFFS: Chali2na and live band travel through the West

Chali2na will be bringing himself to the fans with the help of a 7-piece band, as they hit the road in February, opening on a few dates with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and two shows that will team them up with Public Enemy. Sadly, no Washington or Oregon dates are part of this tour, but hopefully with music festivals still a few months away, he’ll make the rounds when temperatures warm up. However, he will be in Idaho and Montana so if you live in or near the following cities, set your plans now, especially the Valentine’s Day show. In the words of 2na himself, “yeah!”

Feb 12 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Feb 14 – Ketchum, ID – Whiskey Jacques
Feb 15 – Missoula, MT – The Top Hat
Feb 16 – Bozeman, MT – Emerson Theater
Feb 17 – Victor, ID – Knotty Pine
Feb 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
Feb 19 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theater

TV SHOW REVIEW: “Portlandia” (IFC)

The buzzword up here in the Pacific Northwest has been the new show in IFC starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein called Portlandia, based on the people and things found in and within Portland, Oregon. With an interest in wanting to move to Portland, I was interested to see what it was about.

From reading a number of articles and blogs, and hearing podcasts in Portland, it seemed people were either afraid of how Portlandia would show Portland, leery of how embarrassing it might make the city and its residents, while others could care less. The hate was strong, especially with excerpts of the show that could be found, but I think it was nothing more than a proud city who did not want to be looked at as or treated like animals in a zoo. Is Portlandia an example of the unique quirks that Portland does have? Yes, but not all of Portland is like that. “The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland” is what the introduction to the show says, so immediately one is meant to look at the characters and see them as what exactly? 30- and 40- somethings who want to fix the errors of what they went through in the last 20 years? People who felt the past was better? Citizens who wish to live life pre-grunge, pre-hip-hop as a corporate entity, pre-gaming revolution, pre-internet, pre-apps, pre-digital, pre-…cum? It may seem like that from the outside, and I say that as an outsider myself, but watching the show and believing these things will only make you ask one question: what the hell is Portland all about?

For one, Portland is a large metropolitan city with its share of hippies. However, you will also find preppies, hipsters, gangsters, senior citizens, swingers, conservatives, dope fiends, teabaggers, foodies, raw food enthusiasts, and a little bit of everything. You can also find these things in Seattle, San Francisco, Detroit, and every other city Huey Lewis mentioned in the last verse in “The Heart Of Rock’N’Roll”. So why is Portland the hot city of discussion of the moment? I think it’s because it’s a large city whose talent and resources have remained untapped, and the fear is that if the country taps PDX’s ass, it’ll turn into the woman Common rapped about in “I Used To Love H.E.R.”, where she will end up being worn out and torn, but still able to return to the place she calls home. This isn’t to suggest that Portland wants to remain in the past, although shades of the past can be found throughout the city and its various sections. As a record collector, I remember a few years ago when Portland was called “the last untapped vinyl destination”, which comes from young college kids who want to discover a format they didn’t grow up with, and an older generation who found no need to replace a format that they were happy with. Perhaps that’s the perception some people have of the city, the idea that it’s not Miami, it’s not Dallas, it’s not Chicago, it’s not San Francisco. The city of Portland, Oregon is known by name, but very little is known by people outside of the Pacific Northwest, other than how quirky or “weird” it makes itself out to be. Yet within that quirkiness and weird vibes is a sense of wanting to be a Portland resident because the people and the communities feel that the standard of living is very good, even when times are rough, and while I’m only one episode into the show, I think Portlandia is going to show some of the many things that makes Portland worth celebrating, even if some feel it’s unnecessary mockery. Then again, the show was created by Fred Armisen, which obviously means comedy, even if some are not willing to laugh at themselves.

The show is based around different scenarios and storylines, so that Armisen and Brownstein will portray different characters from scene to scene. One scene may show them being overly conscious about the food they consume, while another scene may have them as employees at a women’s book shop. The one thing that I did like was when they showed Armisen’s character overdosing on living in a digital world, and some may thing Portland and being digital is an oxymoron. Truth of the matter is that Portland has a healthy and diverse blogging community, and has been internet savvy for years. There is also a tech community that looks at some of the innovations being done in Portland and the rest of Oregon, some of which is discussed at Rick Turcozy‘s Silicon Florist website. In a recent issue of Portland Monthly there was an article covering the best doctors in the city, while talking about how Portland could take part in becoming a microcosm of what the country’s health care system should be. The city is known for being a mecca of bicyclists, but it’s also encouraging people to think better and smarter about how they travel in and out of the city, with discussions of a forthcoming transportation safety summit producing a number of pros and cons.

Of course, you can also celebrate Portland by taking advantage of a pedestrian-friendly city by discovering the many stairs of the city in The Portland Stairs Book. If you’re unshaven and proud, take part or become a spectator in the West Coast Beard & Mustache Championships. If you want someone to fondle your nether regions, there’s a map for that. Portlandia represents all of this and none of this, so why does it matter?

Let’s be real. The city of Portland, Oregon might seem weird to some, but those people are probably happy with who they are and what they’ve become. Portland is not for them. Those who seek something different and unique may or may not find it in Portland. Truth be told, it can be found anywhere and everywhere. You just have to look, and it just so happens Portland occupies a lot of searchers, even those who are content. Maybe the things they search for seemed varied and different from what you’re looking for, but respect the search. It’s a nerdy city, but that’s a dorky way of saying that this city is well read. I’m a Book, I’m well read, so… Portland seems like a perfect place to be, right? I haven’t lived there yet, but I’d like for it to be a place I will want to call home, and hopefully I will very soon. In the first episode, I see a sense of the people that are there, and it’s not just the characters Armisen and Brownstein portray. Look at the older lady in the library, that’s Portland. Look at the bearded man who has been hiding in the library since 1979 while taking part in a hide & seek contest, that’s Portland.

Maybe want to discover Portland because it’s seen as an intelligent city that isn’t afraid to play the fool, even though they don’t want anyone to call them fools or being foolish. Maybe Portland simply wants people to not poke fun or criticize, but if you’re going to stare, put on a souvenir T-shirt and participate. I also think that Portland has been overshadowed by Seattle for decades, even when Seattle wasn’t the coffee-drinking, tech-savvy city it is today. Upon moving to Washington State in 1984, I remember when it was possible to drive through downtown Seattle and see small corner stores, hear the breeze, and be able to walk on the street for blocks without being hit. With Seattle being home to a number of fisheries, another distinct I remember about some parts of downtown Seattle was how it smelled like a fishing boat. Growing up in Honolulu, I know the sights, sounds, and smells all too well. The Seattle music scene in 1984 was active but bands showed support for other bands, and some bands probably featured members from other bands, so a group of 12 people might have 5 bands ready to go on tour together in a stinky van. The Kingdome was an ugly beast, but people loved the beauty of the ugliness. In 1987 while on The Joshua Tree tour, U2 didn’t play in Seattle, leaving the defunct magazine The Rocket to ask why a big band like them can play San Francisco one night, drive up the West Coast and completely miss Portland and Seattle by heading to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada? From that point on, it seemed the music community did everything to strengthen itself within themselves, and in time people discovered the unique qualities of their music.

Meanwhile, Portland remained the city on the I-5, not really quiet or dormant but ignored by people who were entralled by the big and bright lights of Seattle, the city of dreams in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Which brings to mind what Portlandia suggests: what exactly was the dream of the 90’s? Or is it about going back to a time before the world seemed to collapse in front of our eyes? Is Portland a utopia? Is it a town of music makers, and in the words of Willy Wonka, are Portlanders the dreamers of the dream? By being exposed to the possibility of being overexposed, will the unicorn magic of Portland slowly fade away? If anything, that may be the biggest fear of all, that Portland in the early 10’s will turn into what Seattle became in the 1990’s: overcrowded with Californians looking to change the ways of the city or adapting the city’s qualities and making themselves look like a fool.

It’s possible that this review has less to do with Portlandia the show and more about the city of Portland and what it represents to an outsider who wants to play in their reindeer games. Nonetheless, love or hate, Portland is there to sample and experience. If the show moves you to pay a visit, they’ll be more than happy to welcome you.

(Portlandia airs Friday nights at 10:30 Eastern/7:30 Pacific on IFC. While the show is produced by Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels,the show is based on the video projects Armisen and Brownstein used to do together when Brownstein wasn’t recording/touring with Sleater-Kinney. Consider it a high-budget independent video project, and one that works quite well in the context of what the city represents to its residents.)


Photobucket He goes by the name of BOAC, and two weeks ago I posted his video for the song “The Show Goes On“. If you liked it and wanted to hear more, you now have a chance to hear his brand new project via Bandcamp, called Project Roach. Fans know that his moniker stands for Banging Out All Classics, and this new album could very well be a classic in the making. Journalist Shawn “Speedy” Lopes covered him in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ten years ago. What has changed since 2001? Well, the Star-Bulletin consolidated with the other Honolulu newspaper and are now the Star-Advertiser and BOAC, he’s still rapping and producing, in fact the guy has yet to stop. Find out why music still moves him by checking out what’s new, with the hopes of more newness in 2011.

RECORD CRACK: Fort Lowell Records to release new 7″ single by Death Kit

Death Kit are an L.A. band that will have their forthcoming single be the fifth release for the Tucson, Arizona-based label, Fort Lowell. The single is for the dreamy song “Davadasi”, while the B-side is a remix by …music video? for the song “I Can Make You Love Me”. The record will be out on February 22nd, but you can pre-order your copy by heading to the Fort Lowell blog at Blogspot.

The label recently released a 7″ by Dead Western Plains, and a review of that is forthcoming.
Death Kit “Devadasi” by FortLowellRecords

VIDEO: Outasight’s “Losing My Mind”

Outasight may very well be just that to his fans, but you can see (and hear) him here in his new video for the song “Losing My Mind”. I like the subway train that comes through at the 0:07 mark, and the lady that pops in and out throughout, and anyone who says “this music shit to me is like Lou Reed to Nico” is alright with me. Turn this song into a hit, people.

VIDEO: Bosco Delrey’s “Space Junky”

Bosco Delrey- Space Junky from Mad Decent on Vimeo.

You know the Mad Decent name? Then you’ll also know Bosco Delrey… or do you? Get familiar. This is his brand new video that is said to have been shot at a haunted hooker haven in Memphis. Insane, yeah? Directed by ZFCL, this is what you may have been wanting to hear in 2011, or maybe the start of what you wanted to hear and see. See? No? Go see it now.

March is when Delrey’s album, Everybody Wah, will be released.