Album Reviews, Music

Review: Strung Out – Agents of the Underground

Bands and artists can be defined by many things, yet at times longevity in the age of brevity can oft be overlooked. Longstanding Simi Valley melodicore outfit Strung Out will never have their fortitude and ‘stick-to-itness’ questioned- 7 albums in and now some 20 years into their existence, they rarely shift away from their melody-driven, sometimes metal, mostly punk vein of expression. Yet with so many artists embroiled in constant questioning of their own artistic credibility and self-worth, it is an amazing feat to see a band so strong in their conviction. They will probably never exceed their current level of global recognition or cross over any more than they have, but there is something truly commendable about their own self-realization.

Agents of the Underground is their finest work in a very, very long time- combining the urgency and razor sharp aggression of Exile in Oblivion with the grace of Blackhawks Over Los Angeles while still evoking the kind of introspection found on Continue reading

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Album Reviews, Music

Review: The Swellers – Ups and Downsizing

Tony Sly’s influence is vastly underrated. Just ask The Swellers, who spend much of Ups and Downsizing (as they did with 2007’s My Everest), doing their post-melodicore take on mid-to-late 90s punk which was primarily dominated by Fat Wreck’s ever growing roster of similarity. At the time, older punks seemed to deride the overly melodic nature of the new sound as a product of the generation. Funny thing though, in 2009 this sound has in a sense become the throwback, the aging and forbidden. But damn if in a scene on the verge of collapse under the weight of shittyness brought on by the Cobra Starship/Brokencyde/3Oh!3-ness of it all that a band like the Swellers could sound so damn good; like  No Use For a Name, Pulley and Ten Foot Pole all rolled into one glorious band.

Perhaps they sound this great because they’re surrounded by some of the most average music in the business (here’s looking at you Fueled By Ramen!), which really isn’t their fault. They’ve been around since Continue reading

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Columns

You sir, are a lying, backstabbing motherf*cker

Unlike it’s North American counterpart, the Australian music industry is a remarkably small place. Similarly, the press side of the business is often claustrophobic in nature; limited numbers of major newspapers along with an unfathomably small amount of magazine/specialist press. One common factor throughout the country is its reliance on free street press zines- a viciously cutthroat, but painfully amateurish production that finds itself somewhere in between the old school paper zines and glossy monthlies.

One of Australia’s most noted street press companies has in the past year or so taken lead in the industry, purchasing smaller magazines around the country and homogenizing, centralizing, and syndicating a lot of the content. The issue here is not so much the monopoly, but rather the issue that this particular Street Press company is run mostly by drug-huffing, pill popping dance music aficionados Continue reading

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