All posts by Eddie Ugarte

“Boy let me tell you what…you can wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

Whenever I think of  PW Long or Mule, the band he once fronted, this is the first thing that comes to mind. They’re lyrics from “Sugarcane Zuzu” off of Mule’s debut long-player on Touch and Go. The self-titled album, released in 1992, pretty much fucked up my notion of what the delta blues should sound like. It was as if a bunch nutty Detroit denizens latched onto a the soul of the Blues and filtered it as only punk musicians could. That wasn’t actually what Preston Wright Long III had intentions of doing. The problem was, he ended up with the rhythm section for the Laughing Hyenas and the rest was magic!

PWlong

After the group’s inevitable dissolution, which left behind a few recordings like the aforementioned S/T debut, The Wrung EP  and If I Don’t Six album in ’94, and the bands final “Soul Sound”, a split 7″ with Shellac, PW Long went on to release a few more albums. Two of them, We Didn’t See You On Sunday and Push Me Again with his outfit Reelfoot (bassist Dan Maister and ex-Jesus Lizard drummer Mac McNeilly). He later went on to record another EP and two solo albums, 2003’s Remembered and 2007’s God Bless The Drunkard’s Dog (Black Diamond/Southern Records.) It was that familiar voice. While it was in the band WIG where he began his notorious run in music, Mule and his solo material is what’s always had a hold of me. I mean come on, Mule even covered the Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” which was the B-side of the single for “I’m Hell.” How bad ass is that?

PW Long

Mule

 

There’s something about the Myrrors that is just addictive. The southwest band has just announced the release of its forthcoming album Hasta La Victoria (Beyond Beyond Is Beyond) dropping on 6/30/17 and shared the track “Organ Mantra.” This is the band’s third album and when we say that the band is ridiculously repetitive, we mean that as a compliment because the band is far from being repetitious. The 10-minute plus opus lulls and hypnotizes as a king cobra would before it strikes, although the Myrrors never strike, and keep that momentum moving forward.

 

I guess that title is the lead in for this. 13 Reasons Why… it’s that Netflix show that’s all the rage right now, which revolves around the suicide of a young girl. The premise of the series is that she doesn’t leave a suicide note, but instead records on 7 cassettes the reasons why she killed herself. Those tapes are passed around to a number of individuals . Each side of a tape rehashed something about one individual and how, whatever they did, contributed to her death. It’s a tangled web and the show is pretty graphic. That’s not the only thing we focus here on this episode of Boombox Culture, oh yes, there’s more. There’s Joy Division, which is tightly bound to those cassettes and other music as well.

Is there more? Yes. Former New Order/Joy Division bassist Peter Hook is back on stage performing those JD songs. Upcoming movies, shows and then some. Joining Eddie Machete is Chris “Mr. Awesome” Ratay. His name, not mine. Next time I don’t leave someone to come up with their own nickname.

 

I didn’t have any “resolutions” this year because for the most part, they’re a waste of time. I still keep hearing some complain about the diets or plans they’ve had which have been failures. I don’t do all that. My only goal every year is to be better than I was the previous year and so far so good. Staying on top of projects and taking on new ones. Challenging but hey, once you complete one goal you need to set another or else you’re remain stagnant, like my neighbor’s pool water. If you do that then all you’ll get is mosquitoes sucking the life out of you.

So I think I’m up for the challenge that is Eric Slick‘s new album Palisades (Egghunt Records). As a member of Dr. Dog, Slick has known perks with the success of the band.  He’s also played as the drummer for Adrian Belew and was a part of Lithuania.  Here though, Slick starts fresh and literally from the bottom, if you can call it that. Palisades is actually his second solo release which follows up the 2014’s Out Of Habit cassette. But this sophomore album is what’s showcasing as his explosive debut. Drummers aren’t usually at the forefront and success out from behind the drum kit only happens for a select few (Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, etc.) but Slick has already proven himself.   He’s not afraid to cut loose on this quick paced opener “You Became The Light.” He sticks to a standard verse-chorus-verse formula and takes it to the bridge, but the large than life sound he gets from all the instruments is far from cacophonous, delivered impeccably and controlled. While his press release may read, “..a record that washes over you with both the power of a hurricane and the peace of light filtering through the trees,” I wouldn’t go that far but he’s able to pull a variation of styles, piece them all together and make it all sound singularly cohesive! He’s able to slow down the pace on “The Dirge” and “No” holding onto that expanse, and then later create a beautifully orchestrated track with your basic drums-guitar-bass-keyboard instrumentation on “You Are Not Your Mind” that would make Queen proud. In all honesty, this one song is what I find intriguing and is possibly the peak of the album that will have you wondering how Slick was able to incorporate so much beauty in just 3:46 minutes.

EricSlickPalisades
Eric Slick: Palisades

It doesn’t stop there though. Musically, “Evergreen” could have Slick acting as ringmaster to the rest of the world, that’s only because the world in 2017 is a circus. And “Slow Burn,” it’s captivating with the opening keyboard making way for the wall of guitars and rhythms that momentarily smother listeners with washes of sound. Eric Slick isn’t afraid. He isn’t afraid to take chances and reach into the deep corners of his mine to make Palisades such an amazing listen.

There isn’t much I can say about Tara Jane O’Neil… OK that’s not necessarily true because there’s a LOT I can say about her. In the early 90’s she became part of musical underground lore as a part of the Louisville, KY band Rodan. As part of the seminal group, they redefined a genre with alternating time signatures and creative dynamics. After the dissolution of the band she drifted with other artists, later collaborating with some then began recording her own material.  Her self-titled release (Gnomonsong) is her 8th solo album and it seems she’s honed and refined her skills into what is possibly her most beautiful work to date. Her harmonies and beautiful voice on “Flutter” are accentuated only by the guitars she’s accompanied with. O’Neil can make it seem effortless. To simply categorize her as a folk artist wouldn’t seem fair considering her musical history but the way she creates beauty with “Blow” is just astounding. The ease and flow of the soft and tantalizing rhythm section assist in bringing her gorgeous voice to the surface. The song structure itself is one that would make Carole King blush, having her wish she thought of it first.

Tara Jane O'Neil
Tara Jane O’Neil: S/T

I’m not certain if I can pick anything from this release as a favorite, with one song better than the previous. There’s the sultry “Sand,” the easy flowing “Laugh,” but it’s “Great” that’s the one that puts a smile on my face. It’s as if O’Neil is left breathless after singing the opening “Holding onto life at these ends of time / what matters now anyway?” over a slowly-paced rhythm and sparse guitars that never move faster than a light summer breeze. Oh how O’Neil makes it all so easy and simple, but that’s only because she’s mastered her art. That much is obvious from the allure of her self-titled release here.

In all seriousness, I’m at a loss with Sixo. Why? Because it doesn’t seem like he fucks around.  Scotty Trimble  is a former professional motocross racer turned indie rap producer (in actuality, both careers ran concurrently) and here on his third release  The Odds Of Free Will (Fake Four Inc.) we see yet another producer whose track manipulation is capable at handling more than one genre. While Sixo is known as a Hip Hop / electronic producer, some of his music defies singular genres. He’s able to create tracks that are fit for any singer or rapper. Although, one thing is predominant; there’s a sadness lingering around many of the tracks written here. Musically, it usually sits around a brooding timbre that’s accented by the artist he’s working with. “Eye Of The Needle” feels this way. Singer Grace Park does her best to stay on point with it as well. The sweetness of her voice makes that sadness bearable, it’s strength fighting through it…if that makes any sense. But then there’s “Christmas Past” where that sadness is overshadowed by a haunting dream on which Ceschi raps/sings over. Ceschi can make you cry with his words, accenting the music he’s highlighting, storming through in a controlled state.

Sixo

But it’s Gregory Pepper that changes things up. The mellow work Sixo pieces together on “John Connor” – an ode to Terminator – is where Pepper can sing his heart out beautifully, although the cynicism of his words shouldn’t be lost on you. He’s one artist I’d like to hear record an entire album using strictly Hip Hop production. But it’s not all fun and games though, as that Grayskul / Dark Time Sunshine man Onry Ozzborn, takes the angst Sixo puts in his music and adds his words to it perfectly on “War Games.” Misconstrued love? Misunderstandings? Possibly, but Sixo and Ozzborn leave you wallowing in anxiety. His instrumentals like “Nothing’s Perfect” and “Nothing And Hell” are beautiful but again, dark, emotive, sad, etc. and require repeated listen. Other heavy hitters are found here as well like Josh Martinez holding things down on “Fire In The Sky,” or Awol One on the bottom heavy “Starlight City, which suits his baritone perfectly. You can’t forget those wordsmiths like Open Mike Eagle, Milo and Mike 9 as well. This is a lot to take in and I feel like I’m downing. The only thing is, I keep coming back to The Odds Of Free Will in an attempt to get more water in my lungs.

Eric SlickFacebook // Twitter // Instagram
Tara Jane O’NeilFacebook // Twitter // Instagram
SixoFacebook // Twitter // Instagram

NoSurrender

It’s been a strange ride for the group whose last full-length release, Medicine Babies, dropped back in 2010. At that time the line-up – which has had a few different variations but the members that have come and gone have always remained closely knit and interchangeable – was made up of Gnomad, Darius Jamal VanSluytman F/K/A Seraphim, and Eddie Steeples. Early releases made it my way although Seraphim’s name always popped up around all the time, as a guest vocalist on tracks by underground legends like Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox, Crunc Tesla and Mike Ladd’s The Majesticons. But it was in  2003 that I first met the crew as they offered up their first self-released CD, White Power Black Magic, a collage of dissonance, off-beat drum patterns and fierce lyricism. But it’s Medicine Babies I’m here to discuss. While Steeples Hip-Hop career was sidetracked into acting (Torque, My Name Is Earl) the group put itself on hold. Finding himself once again back in the fold, the members reinvented itself into an invigorated beast! The release was like nothing the group had previously released. With additional production and assistance from the likes of Radioclit, Fred Q Nasty and TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe the group proved to redefine what Hip Hop and music should sound like. We’ll see what comes next…

NoSurrender2

 

No Surrender: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Website

 

I’ve been trying to focus on a couple of different things but life is just sometimes much too busy for to get everything done when you’d like to.  So what do you do? Well, Just go ahead and “Get Down” when you can. See what I did there? That’s my lead in to this week’s action and what we’re discussing. I caught up with another friend of mine here, Chris Purrison, also known as Quest The Unbornchild, my fellow music, movie and book nerd who sometimes doubles as a rapper. From the desert to the coast, on The Get Down, and other miscellaneous shit. (please excuse the technical difficulties)

Well, today’s actually our Good Friday Roll Out. It’s one of those days you head out on the road nary a person in sight. Except maybe those that are hanging out in front of the barista I’m trying to get a coffee from. You know your day is starting off right when the girl in front of you attempts to pay with a $100 bill that has what looks like a smiling Ben Franklin embedded within it. You just can’t make this shit up. Well, it actually lifted my spirits seeing that. I tell everyone, “There’s comedy all around us, we don’t even have to look far for it.” It’s gold I tell you, gold. That’s jump-started my day to lead me into some found music and sounds I have lodged somewhere in between my console and steering wheel.

I’ve been listening to the XETAS band a lot lately, not simply to write anything about the Texas group but for the sheer enjoyment of the group’s music. The band has offered up its full-length player The Tower (12XU) which could be a punk-enthusiast’s wet dream. From beginning to end the 3-piece outfit comprised of drummer O.D.J., guitarist/vocalist D and bassist/vocalist K (no further info was given on what the hell their names actually are) the group put together 10 tracks of dramatic power. Musically, every track is downright filthy(!) held together by dissonance and distortion. From beginning to end Xetas doesn’t let up, holding onto the grime only as the glue holding things together. Rhythmic thrust? Yeah, that’s what’s powering every single track. They get down right melodic on “The Lamb,” one of the more straight-forward songs that catapults guitar notes to the forefront. But for me it’s songs like the title track, with its hardcore leanings that I’ll find myself driving down desert roads blaring with windows down. You’ll want to shout, “FUCK YEAH!” over and over again for no reason except for being lost in the music. I’m so enamored with this band because the leave it all out there, balls-to-the-walls so to speak, without give a shit as to what anyone thinks. I can appreciate that.

XETAS

Sadistik, didn’t shock anyone when he announced his new album Altars was being released on Equal Vision Records. The label had been known in the 90’s as a purveyor of straight-edged hardcore, founded by Ray Cappo (Youth Of Today, Shelter) which has been home to a number of artists like The Dear Hunter, Saves The Day, Coheed and Cambria, Bane and others. But this isn’t about emo and hardcore bands the label releases, it’s about Cody Foster, who many recognize as Sadistik. The last release I came across, the E.P., Salo Sessions, was pretty introspective and filled with artistry. Hearing of his forthcoming release, Oh I jumped at the chance to listen to it. It could have gone only one of two ways: either I’d love it or pan it. Fortunately, Altars doesn’t disappoint. But its not without issues here. I appreciate the artistry on his new album but rarely can you find him straying from the singular timbre throughout the album. There’s a sadness lingering throughout the album that are at times aggressive and at others, passive. But the mood always remains the same, extroverted but travelling down cold, dark alleyways. Lurking below is a figure wearing a top hat with false promises of love and joy, which comes with a price. This is what Altars projects, it’s my opinion so take it or leave it. It’s intriguing though, as “God Complex” forces you to clench fists, pound tables, and punch walls. It finds listeners cowering under Sadistik’s voice as if he were above reproach. Stay out of his way as his words cut like knives on flesh, thrusting forward with keys and a drumbeat.

Sadistik

He’s much more inviting on “Free Spirits,” or at least musically that’s how he lets you in. There’s a balance here between his lyricism and the beat driving it. His words storm through moments of self-deprecation – just a moment though – and searching for solace while musically the hypnotic beat lulls you right in.  This is, the perfect track. As I mentioned previously, there’s so much darkness throughout Altars, “Roaches” haunts with apocalyptic imagery while “Sacrifice” pulls cold death into the beat filled with Catholic symbolism. I’m a fan of Sadistik and his way with words, and on Altars, he gives so much of himself and then some. It’s been some time since I’ve heard an artist this visceral, and I mean that in the most literal sense.

 

Sadistik: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
XETAS: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Apsci

Have you ever discovered something and thought, “Hmmm, this shit sounds interesting”? The further you dig for information, the discovery is made that you know more about a group than you actually thought you did. All this right before the boom of high speed internet access. That’s the point where I found myself when I discovered Apsci, a Brooklyn husband and wife group with a DJ in tow. You had the Bronx born, New Jersey-raised Ra LaMotta and the Filipino-Australian Dana  Diaz-Tutaan along with NYC’s own DJ Big Wiz (Hail Mary Mallon).

The group made its impact on me from the very start, so it took me by surprise when I learned Ra was also one-third of another favorite of mine, the NYC band Vitapup (Sidenote: The one album the band released, An Hour With Vitapup, was dense and packed with amazing moments.) But Apsci, and the albums they’ve released, is the focus here. First it was 2003’s Get It Twisted (Elefant Traks) which featured a number of guest appearances by the likes of Mike Ladd, Seraphim, TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe, Antibalas’ Martin Perna, Tes Uno, later followed up in 2005 with Thanks For Asking (Quannum), which contained many of the same songs but also included a new gems that costarred Mr. Lif, Pigeon John and Vursatyl.

It would be four years before they returned with a new album in 2009 with Best Crisis Ever (Quannum). It was a bit of a departure from the previous work but Apsci never fit into simply one genre. They literally pushed the boundaries of what the music should be: raw and full of life. The visceral attack there could be summed up in one song; “Under Control.” Now that shit was dope. Eventually the group quietly folded into itself, never announcing a retirement or a dissolution so, you never know what’ll happen in this fickle world.

off of Thanks For Asking

Off of Best Crisis Ever

We all know that Ryan ReynoldsGreen Lantern was a huge flop, which was evident through its box office ratings.  The film cost $200 million to produce, while it only took $220 million at the box office, failing to meet industry expectations (Reuters).  The Hollywood Reporter stated that the movie needed to make approximately $500 million to be considered financially solid but movie failed to live up to its superhero luminaries.  Green Lantern grossed $21 million on its opening day, but fell by 66% immediately the following week. Reynolds’ Green Lantern was the second largest weekend decline for a superhero film since 2011.

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After 6 years of silence, it now seems as if the Green Lantern is ready to set things straight. Just recently, rumors about a new Green Lantern film have been circulating the internet, and due to the increasing suspicions of DC fans, the comic book giants confirmed (Deadline)  that they had hired David Goyer and Justin Rhode to write the script for the new movie. Using a different direction from the previous film, both writers said that the new Green Lantern film will be like “Lethal Weapon” in space, which probably means that the film will be a mixed bag of comedy and action.

The new Green Lantern movie will be a part of the DC Extended Universe, which was originally planned to be released in 2020. However, since the Justice League movie will soon be released, DC probably wants to release the new Green Lantern sooner in order for the character to be a part of Justice League 2.

Rumors about the new Green Lantern movie first surfaced when gamers pointed out that DC seems to be aggressively marketing the Ring-wielding superhero through a number of casual games. Apart from the Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters (Itunes) game for iOS, the gaming channel Betfair Slots also released a casual title carrying the commercially-licensed Green Lantern name. It is well known among fans that DC tries to increase the hype of a superhero movie through the release of games, and the new Green Lantern titles are good signs that the new movie may be released sooner rather than later.

As for who will play the new Green Lantern, no one knows for sure. The chances are it won’t be Ryan Reynolds because apart from his disappointing performance in the first movie, he has since been cast as Deadpool.

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Some industry insiders have even suggested that Dwayne Johnson, AKA The Rock, could be cast as the new Green Lantern movie but the rumors died down when it was confirmed that Johnson will instead be playing Black Adam, the arch nemesis of Shazam. Analysts suggest that the new Green Lantern film will be a reboot, and will have John Stewart as the Green Lantern instead of Hal Jordan. John Stewart is the first African-American superhero to be a part of the DC superhero roster.

There have also been no formal announcements yet as to who will direct the new Green Lantern movie.

Producer/musical innovator Sixo premieres the video today for “John Connor” which features singer Gregory Pepper.  Former professional motocross racer Scotty Trimble, known as Sixo,  is set to release his third full-length studio album, The Odds of Free Will, dropping 421/17 on Fake Four Inc. This time around though, he’s included a number of indie rap giants, aside from Gregory Pepper, like Open Mike Eagle, Milo, Ceschi, Awol One and Onry Ozzborn. This album is obviously his labor of love, spending three years working on the individual tracks that comprise the whole. The album is fitted with sampling mixes and live instruments, receiving a helping hand by additional musicians, David Moss (Cello), Jinx McGee (guitar/synths), and hsi brother Maddox Trimble (bass).

“John Connor” circles around a Terminator-based imagery where you have Pepper playing the Edward Furlong role against someone else handling Schwarzenneger’s cybernetic Terminator character. I want to say it’s Trimble playing the character but only they’ll really know.

 

Sixo Album Artwork
SIXO: The Odds of Free Will

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Quote from Gregory Pepper: 

“To this day, I still think Terminator 2 is one of the best movies of all time. I remember watching the VHS with my dad in the 90’s and being transfixed by the mix of senseless violence, science-fiction, and Guns-N-Roses. The John Connor character defined my prepubescent expectations of what life would be like as a teenager: Summer afternoons spent sneering at authority and ripping around on a dirtbike, hacking ATMs. Naturally, my teen years didn’t end up being anything like that, thank heavens. This rap is sort of a meditation on that skewed nostalgia. And just to be clear: I DID ask for that Edward Furlong type haircut with the long bangs and the barber fucked it up, hard. The video (shot by Colin Harrington aka A Pocket History Of Mars) ended up being a bit of fan fiction in which we witness a 2017-era John Connor navigating the modern world, missing his T-800 father figure. The part where the terminator is smoking shatter through a glass pipe (around the 2 minute mark) cracks me up every time.”

SIXO: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram
Gregory Pepper: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram