Oliver Brink

A concert in a graveyard? Why not!

STARS-8

What exactly is it about Canada that produces such intriguing rock and roll acts? The great North is home to dozens of groups that broke through international barriers and still continue to impress to this day. Of course there are the obvious examples like Neil Young, Rush, The Guess Who, Arcade Fire, and NoMeansNo, but there is also that unique brand of indie/art with groups like Metric, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, The New Pornographers, and Broken Social Scene, the indie super band of which Amy Millan and Evan Cranley are members. Easily one of my favorites of all of them is Stars who take up a special place with their lush production and exploration of the various themes of love and heartbreak. In support of their recent double LP release, There Is No Love In Fluorescent Light, the band took over the Masonic Lodge at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for three whole days of intimacy with their long-time fans and first timers alike.

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Deeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrhooooooooooofff!

Deerhoof-30

I cannot start this without immediately stating my bias. I love Deerhoof. I’ve been in love with this strange quirky band since I was 16 years old in high school, and a friend of mine played the cleanest version that exists of “Gore in Crown,” though we knew it as “Gore in Beans.” They are a band that — for whatever reason — manages to attack their inspiration ceaselessly and never get redundant in doing so. Like Fugazi‘s later career, each album is new, fresh, and exciting, better than the album before it. This says nothing of their performances — of which the following is my fifth as an audience member — which always retain some of the highest energy of any show I’ve ever been to.

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“Nothing stops this tour!”

Dead Cross-20

Since supergroups seem to be the big deal right now, it’s hard to recognize any band who comes together in collaboration as anything but. However, it becomes crystal clear, when the band performs live, that “supergroup” is not as appropriate of a term. When talking about Dead Cross it is completely fair to say that this is a band, not another one-off album release. The self-titled album, recently released on Ipecac Records, is a blistering hardcore punk set that injects a new vitality into the genre.

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2017 seems to be the year of the music festival.  With new festivals like Desert Daze and Burger Boogaloo gaining traction, the stalwarts have upped the ante on their lineups, boasting unique and eclectic selections of damn fine music. FYF Fest has come a long way from its meager Echo Park beginnings and from July 21st to 23rd it will once again take over Exposition Park in Los Angeles this year and damn if they haven’t booked one hell of a lineup.

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“We will not back down, we must refuse to stay silent!”

Probably one of the best things to happen from Donald Trump becoming the—and I shudder as I type this—President is the anticipation of all the amazing politically-charged punk rock that will invariably come back into the public consciousness. This is not to say that it wasn’t always there—it was and always will be—but humanity is a fickle species and without something to kick its ass into gear occasionally, it relegates the plaintive cries of the marginalized into the background. That’s where punk rock comes in to kick everyone in the face and scream “LISTEN UP!”

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“No one can take away our memory!”

Discharge Kids

If Day One was about old school and hardcore and Day Two was about politics, then Day Three was about unadulterated partying and England. Admittedly, I am not much of an “oi/streetpunk” fan. It’s not that I am opposed to it, mind you, it’s just that very few of the bands in the genre have impressed their importance onto me. So it was with some trepidation that I embarked to the site of the final day of the festival, with every intention of keeping my mind open and enjoying some hearty music from across the pond.

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Festival Review: Punk Rock Bowling – Day 2 (Las Vegas, NV)

June 8, 2017

“Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!” Despite, or maybe in spite, of the heat I woke up for day two feeling refreshed and ready to go. The usual first day kinks had been worked out and entrance into the venue was faster, although I heard some rumor about ISIS threatening to bomb Las Vegas was […]

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Festival Review: Punk Rock Bowling – Day 1 (Las Vegas, NV)

June 6, 2017

“As long as we’re alive then Punk’s not dead yet!” Punk Rock is probably some of the most honest music anyone will ever hear. Stripped away are the pretenses of “professional musicianship” leaving in its wake the raw emotion, power, and intellect—or lack thereof—of the music. It can be anything, it can be nothing, it […]

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Show Review: Amanda Palmer & Edward Ka-Spel at The Troubadour, 5/24/2017

June 1, 2017

An auspicious night of revelry and musical joy! Sometimes, even though it seems like the odds are stacked against you, problems invariably sort themselves. At least, this is what I was telling myself to keep calm after discovering that a number of unforeseen circumstances were possibly going to have ended my night before it could […]

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Album Review: Big Walnuts Yonder: Big Walnuts Yonder

May 1, 2017

What happens when four musicians record an album in three days? Well, as luck would have it, something amazing happens. At least, that’s the case for the debut release of Big Walnuts Yonder. Though they prefer to consider themselves an anti-supergroup—in that they consciously rebel against the cliche of bringing their known sounds to the […]

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