Thursday, June 27, 2013

Drain The Lake, With A Row Ho-Ho, And A Tricky Lah Dee Doo

So big changes are happening in the world of Tristram. Codi is no longer going to be playing drums with us but I was very grateful that there was no animosity and that we no longer have to stress over shit that should be fun and fluid. Distance played a really big factor in this also but all in all things are going to be different for better or worst. But all in all I think all parties involved will be happier in the times to come. I said "all" a lot in that sentence. Three "all's" all within five words of each other altogether. What does "all in all" even mean? Seems like "stuff equals stuff." What a stupid phrase. Anyways, so that is a drastic change we are looking at right now.

Guinea Potato Pirate
Otherwise, the following is something I did for a friend of mine's blog that he runs in Europe about musicians and people involved with music talking about their favorite records. But I figured I would post it on here just for funzie-onezies. If you want to know more about the mysterious musical world of Conky then you just hit a gold mine. Because Kerry King knows I am such a fascinating Potato Pirate. Anywho, here's some shit.

My record collection is relatively new, but I went for many of my favorite records right away. Though some have been difficult to track down or too expensive to afford. But I plan on keeping my collection tight and not end up being John Cusack constantly alphabetizing his records and weeping about failed love. But I do wish I could have had some gems like "Mr. Beast" by Mogwai, "Heartache" by Jesu, and "Deathconciousness" by Have A Nice Life (my personal favorite.) But alas, I am a simple man of simple means so these will have to do. 

"City of Echoes" by Pelican

I remember watching "Headbanger's Ball" on MTV2 when MTV could no longer be bothered to play music so they went ahead and made another channel just for people who might still be interested in stupid boring ole music. Anyways, the song "Dead Between The Walls" came on and I was blown away right away. It was the first time I had heard instrumental music really and was enthralled by their energy and power to melt face despite lacking any distinguishable front man. This record is a triumph of human accomplishment and the closing track "A Delicate Sense of Balance" is an emotional killing blow and a perfect finale. 

Brutal ass shit.

"Those Once Loyal" by Bolt Thrower

I was a late recruit in the Bolt Thrower army, but I have never looked back. I had the glorious fortune to see them live just a few weeks ago in Chicago. I have yet to recover. This record has become one of my favorites to put on when I want to thrash, or when I am doing laundry. Either way, you get shit done. 

"Like A Virgin" by Madonna

Pure Gold. You can't fuck with this record. It's just too good. I can't even talk about it I have to go listen to it.

"Kill 'Em All" by Metallica

In a time shrouded in legend, Metallica was once a band that blew people away with unadulterated face melting thrash attacks that would topple a mountain onto a thrash pit and all members of that thrash pit would eat that mountain and spit rock shards at the band who would in turn thrash the shards into dust. And that time was called "The 80's." It was the decade of my birth and I am proud that this record was released within that decade. It is one of the few reasons I am glad to be alive. I am forever in the Metal Militia. 

Acne is metal.

"Abyssal" by Envy

This is one of the most recent additions to my collection. It is 4 songs that are some of the most emotionally twisting, crushing and beautiful songs I have ever had the privilege to listen to. "Thousand Scars" slashes me deep to my core, and "All That's Left Has Gone To Sleep" shows a great respect from the band showing their post-hardcore/screamo roots. Listening to this record is to step into the abyss and gaze upon the ethereal. In Laymen's terms, it's fucking good. 


"Pinkerton" by Weezer

Perfect break up record. Any break up I have had the past almost decade now I have listened to depressing shoegaze, followed by some post-rock, but the real healing begins when I put this record on. It kind of says, "Fuck it, just whack it and play guitar." I am a strong believer in the "FUCK IT, DO IT LIVE!!!" ethos. 

"Sailing The Seas Of Cheese" by Primus

Now I know cheese isn't vegan, but I eat this shit up. Words cannot express what Primus has done for me. They changed my whole outlook on what is possible when it comes to music. And they showed me, anything is possible. Just pick up a bass and fucking rip it. And sing goofy songs about military imperialism and homophobia. Or songs about the illusion of western living. Once again, this record is a part of me and I would be no where without this, Frizzle Fry and Pork Soda. 

"Young Mountain" by This Will Destroy You

Post rock has a very special place in my heart. The opening track "Quiet" was the first song I heard by this band. I am getting chills just thinking about it. Rarely does a record encapsulate me right away and this record did that and more. They do not speak in words so neither will I, check it out for yourself! 

"Volume One" by She & Him

This record just makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And I like feeling that way from time to time.

"Self Titled" by Cloud Rat

This is a band from my state of birth Michigan. I listen to them whenever I am looking for inspiration for my band Tristram which is also a three piece (guitar, drums and vocals.) They just completed a tour of Europe not too long ago so I hope some of you had a chance to check them out. This band has endless potential. 

"Two Hunters" by Wolves In The Throne Room

I was really glad to have been able to see this band with the above band Cloud Rat in a small schoolhouse in Michigan. This is another band I draw a lot of inspiration from. Ambient and other-worldly. This band and record are legendary. I hear stories about them and wonder whether or not they are true. But either way, all their records are each a masterpiece and I am so grateful to be able to dig a hole into this record eventually. Until then, let the gloom wash over me. 

I hope this was as much fun for you as it was for me! Records are neat! Maggots for life! God Hates Us All! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Post-Flop, Calling The Kettle "Black Metal," It Came From Me

The infamous "Peter Panda."
He loves laying on LP's for some cat reason.
I was thinking about whining a lot in this post and perhaps I will. But right now I am just enjoying some coffee and the company of cats. But I am listening to some records I recently acquired and right this moment I am listening to "Moving On The Edges of Things" by This Will Destroy You. It is a cool looking picture disc LP and I love that band so I decided to pick it up despite never hearing it. And I must say, I am mildly disappointed. It wasn't total garbage, but it was not what I was hoping for either. It was basically two tracks of ambient noise and drums here and there. There was not one guitar melody at all. It's only 2 songs so I thought maybe the other one would be the post-rock pit opener but I was not graced with that fortune. But oh diddly well, God Hates Us All.

"There is no spoon."
While typing that the record ended and I put on my new copy of "Two Hunters" by Wolves In The Throne Room. Was very excited to listen to this one on wax. I've never even heard the extended version of "Cleansing"  or the LP exclusive song "To Reveal." Part of me thinks it kind of honks when bands only release songs on certain mediums. But then again I know that by now someone has ripped the songs into digital formats and have released them for free. So really who gives a fuck? But otherwise it is getting me excited about playing tonight with my band Tristram. I am not certain, but I don't think I have played a show since the last Longing show back in April. Two months is quite a while for me to be show-less. I don't mind though because I know we have made ourselves a way better band in the past two months then we ever did the past two years. Which is pretty nuts to think about being a band for that long despite a long indefinite hiatus. I'd say we were a pretty big smoking pile of poop in the past but I think we may be finally getting our shit together. Kind of like when George Carlin gave Wyld Stallyn gear in "Bill And Ted's Excellent Adventure" and they got their lady pals from medieval England to play drums and keyboards and they became the greatest band in the world. Just like that.

"It's...other worldly..."
And of course in order to have your shit together you have to get out and play shows. Which is one thing that has been bumming me out lately. I haven't toured in over a year now in any extensive way. And I have said it time and time again and I will continue to do so, but when it comes to music or anything you are passionate about, you have to shit or get off the pot. You can't half ass it, and you can't settle on yourself. I think anything you dedicate your life to should be fun and exciting. But I don't want to just sit around waiting for the good times to roll by themselves. I am excited about the few shows we have coming up, including a show on the East side of Michigan with the band Loma Prieta. But I am also mildly nervous about playing with these "bigger" bands. Simply because I know they will have way better gear then us and most likely be way tighter and more talented then us. I just find it disheartening sometimes that I can't afford to just have an amazing sound every time I play. But I know that we all have to pay our dues and work our way there but it's just frustrating sometimes. I wish I could just shit an Orange amplifier and two or four cabinets. It would be worth the pain of my anus being torn to shreds. It'd be worth it...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Genius Envy, A Tale Of Two Turds, I Don't Want FOP God Dammit I'm A Japan Man!

Today is a brighter day on gloom mountain. I have been listening to the EP "Abyssal" by the the band Envy over and over again and my mind has been blown over and over again. Every now and then I kind of realize, "Holy burger monkey! I am totally fucking up by not checking out this band more!" I had heard the split they did with Jesu and their song "A Winter Quest For Fantasy" is one of my top 5 songs of all time. And yet I was deciding to just never check out any of their other records. But I decided to pick up "Abyssal" and their most recent full length "Recitation." They are both incredible and I really wanted to find some more inspiration for the upcoming Tristram LP on the horizon. If all goes well we should begin recording in less than a week now. I always think it will go swiftly but I have learned over the years that nothing gets done swiftly. Most likely the drums will take a week at the very least. Then I will be spending all of July bashing myself with a wooden spoon to make myself play better. I am looking at a mid to late August release at the soonest. And that will probably just be a Bandcamp release, the physical copies will be another month or two probably.

Not only can this amp handle 1.21 gigawatts,
but it can also go 88 miles per hour. 
But in an effort to perpetuate the endeavor of rock, I entered a place I have discussed before: The Realm of the Shattered Axe. The Forlorn Marsh of Marshall's. I am of course speaking of Guitar Center. The very title alone makes my bones quiver now. I used to have a salesmen who I actually liked help me out. (Yeah I know, me liking someone? Let alone a fucking Guitar Center turd?) But he was polite, knowledgeable and wasn't Captain Pushy McPush-Pop. Because I have learned that when you enter that place you will come into contact with two species of mutinous mongoloids. Firstly, you have the ex-guitar tech for Dream Theater. He will talk to you like you are a fucking moron and describe how this amplifier has an 1000 watt dildo output complete with a decibel dick stomping mechanism capable of triangulating the circumference of any fecal photon capacitors within a 47.34  mile radius of the flux piston fuck-a-tron antennae. That guy of course is no help to a simple potato miner like me. But then you have the other guy, the greater of two evils in my opinion. You have the dude who knows jack shit about anything he is selling, but hey he's been in bands for a few years so obviously he's enough of a professional to sell me shit. And that is the beast I have to contend with now at every visit. At the moment I am primarily on the hunt for new effects pedals and other amenities. So I have to converse with this guy who for the sake of anonymity we will call "Johnny McTurd-Fuck." So Johnny Shit-Hat is waiting at the counter for me. I tell him I am interested in a simple, easy to use looper pedal that has as few options as possible since I don't want to pay for things I'd never use. "Right this way!" says Johnny Feces-Face. Leading me directly to the most expensive and complex pedal in the store. This guy will kick and scream to up-charge me on anything he can. I want a 6 inch patch cable that costs 4 dollars? He tries selling me the 27 dollar patch cable complete with an automatic bag balm application device. I tell him no I just need the one cable, he wants me to buy 2 of them, since I have a non existent pedal that needs that second cable. I could literally make this entire post about how much I hate Johnny Poop-Pistol if you couldn't tell already. And yet I will have to face that Bowel Behemoth time and time again. I miss my old salesmen, wherever you may be you buff bastard. What an untimely juncture to make an unlikely friendship.

If only...
Otherwise, I do have a looper pedal heading my way via UPS and it should be here in the next day or two. I am pretty excited about it since not only can I use it for samples and live looping, but I believe I will be able to do some recording with it. So I feel like it will grant a large boost to all of the projects I am involved in. Which right now is about 1 1/2 bands or something. But I do need to start letting the gloom out again. And listening to Envy has given me so many ideas for doing guitar layers for Tristram. Somehow I need to afford to get some Orange amps I think. I was listening to Boris the other day and fuck that band sounds so damn good. I used to think Orange amps were overrated since I was seeing mediocre bands playing through professional grade gear since their parents were born with the right last names. Well I was born with a spoon whittled from a potato in my mouth and that is just dapper dandy by me. But if I could have Wata from Boris' booming, crushing, face obliterating distortion sound and Envy guitarist's Nobukata Kawai and Masahiro Tobita's domination of the ethereal plains of cleansing sound then I would be in love with my own creations. Japan got it right. I can't wait to visit when the Boris, Envy and Tristram world tour happens. A maggot can dream...

Perfection Incarnate.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life Is Hard Enough As It Is, Take Me Somewhere Nice, Nothing Hurts Them

It's been a while since I have pontificated about my own life. I think about my life all the time obviously just as I am sure you all have. But I never truly look within myself unless I have that sunken feeling in the pit of my stomach and I am sitting in the dark with only monitor and candlelight listening to Mogwai. I haven't done it in  a while because for the most part I have been generally happier than I was this time last year. One time in particular I recall was I was supposed to play a show with my old band Chumm, but was so stricken with grief that I was unable to leave the sanctuary of my room or the cathartic oasis of my floor. I was thinking about that night and what it meant to me that my friend Megan gave me a long hug and let me cry. I really used to be fucked up, and I know that I wasn't getting the proper emotional input from my romantic relationships. So staying away from shitbags has been really good for me. But inevitably that dark tide always rises up and washes over me. Sometimes I can't explain it, a lot of times I can but doubt that many people would understand. And I also don't really believe in making other people carry my burdens. But sometimes I really just fucking hate everybody. Everything they do, everything they say. It's ugly. I believe a lot of people are better than the actions they are committing but I know that a lot of people probably feel the same way about me.

I just feel there will always be a barrier between myself and the rest of humanity. Even my closest friends and relationships have something that just makes that euphoric connection dim. It's really no ones fault but my own. I have said this many times but I feel that most people have at least the majority of the emotional tools needed to truly connect with other people and to find peace within themselves. I believe that some of those tools were taken or faded somehow. Some days I just wake up as many of you do and think, "I feel like I might die today." I can't put my finger on why I feel that way, I just sort of wonder what if I were to die today. Then I take in signs like walking through the grocery store and I overhear a guy talking about someone he knew who had a brain aneurysm at 27 and I take that as "Yep, today's the day Zach." And you know what, it doesn't really bother me that much. I don't know if that is apathy or just being too tired, but I fantasize about how all memory of me will fade like any good or bad memory. I am getting kind of tired and I know this didn't really go anywhere. Sometimes I just like to throw things out there. God hates us all. Good night. 

"We Wish We Were Dead"

Monday, June 3, 2013

The IV Crusade, Those Once Loyal, For Victory

The Great Protector.
Today's post will be a story, a tale if you will. I will regale you with scripture from the battlefield of rock. Carved on the skull of a fallen mosh warrior. This is my trip to Chicago to see the legendary Bolt Thrower. The journey there was almost as fun as the show itself. My brothers of war included Richard "Tricky Dick" Hackler, Ryan "Pit Lord" Brady and Joe "Alien Cock" Moon. We listened to old tapes buried in the tomb of  Richard's car. We listened to our old band Chumm which actually made me more excited about about the upcoming Tristram record since Richard's vo-kills are like a Kodiak bear being strangled by the demon of fire and shadow Balrog. We also listened to Oily Menace, Victory, Discycle, D.S.S. and a lot of other great Michigan bands. It only reaffirmed my recent affinity with analog technology. Eventually we made it to Chicago and parked near the venue. And after waiting in the pouring rain for about 20 or 30 minutes, we finally made it into the venue. I took the thunderstorm as a positive omen. That the ancient demons of lore were watching over us on this night of nights. And of course the smell was unbelievable. Metal heads, the loyal scum of the earth.

"In battle, there is no law!"
I waited in a separate line for another 30 minutes just to get a T-Shirt. There was a big tin bin full of beer and ice so people could get their buzz on while they wait to get shit. I got about 5 people ahead of the beer dispensary and suddenly I hear people shouting and scrambling. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure some people tried grabbing the beer and they got the shit kicked out of them. Basically an ambulance had shown up only 20 minutes into the doors opening. But eventually the opening band Jungle Rot began to play. The first 2 or 3 songs I thought were really cool, the breakdowns were gnarly and the vocalist sounded like one of the guys from Mushroomhead. Which of course means he was nu as shit. But then after that I kind of checked out. The worst part was they were trying to record a music video for one of their songs. So they had 4 guys running around shoving cameras in people's faces and ruining the whole vibe. On top of that, there is nothing worse than a singer telling people what to do. If your music doesn't inspire people to move, then you need to write better songs and output more energy. These metal dudes just get into one stance and then go on shred auto-pilot. Fucking boring. Richard and I missed out on Benediction unfortunately since we needed to fuel up on shitty Chinese food. I should have prefaced this with saying that I was on very little sleep and was already sore from having to run around Grand Rapids the night before due to car troubles. Because once again, God hates us all.

"Death to the false emperor"
But then Hell awoke and rose from beneath the floorboards. I honestly don't know how to convey what happened when Bolt Thrower played. It's as if I blacked out and awoken battle-worn and comatose from brutality. The vocalist Karl Willetts was charismatic and fun. Which one wouldn't expect from the singer of one of the most brutal bands in history. Barry Thomson was incredible, one of the best lead guitarists I've ever heard. What I love about his playing is that he focuses his energy like a lascannon through a Tyranid. He gives no shits about extremely fast shredding, only about melting your face with beautiful ethereal death-rattles. And then Jo Bench was rocking so hard. She was the only one who never smiled, it was all business. Her bass was as big as she was but you could never knock her over. There were moments that will be burned in my memory forever. During "Anti-Tank" the vocalist through the mic stand up in the air and the crowd seemed to lift up with it as if the stand was his psychic staff of Tzeentch and he was lifting us with his mind. Then shit got spiritual for me during "For Victory." The riffs were mesmerizing, my eyes began to water  and I cried blood. Then unsurprisingly, the mortal blow was made during "The Killchain." All the lights went red right when they first struck in. The only downside was the 300 pound drunk metal dude who looked like Tom Araya's illegitimate cave-son. He kept leaning all of his weight on me and though I have thighs of steel I could only take so much. Another thing was how intent people were at being hard-asses. Fuck that macho pit bullshit. People forget that the whole point of going to a show should be to have fun. Not to toss a grown Conky across the room with all their might. I'm all down for fucking shit up but sometimes it becomes obvious that there is a pit hierarchy and that shit is fucking dumb. But all in all, it was pure insanity, I wish I could bestow it upon you all but I can't. I survived the war that is Bolt Thrower. In a world of compromise, some don't.

"No Guts, No Glory!"