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Monday, 25 July 2011

The Interesting People Files Vol. 1: Patrick Kindlon





Okay kids, listen up. Today I've decided to do something a little different. Instead of indoctrinating your innocent minds with my opinions alone, I'm starting a segment in which I will ask interesting and sometimes semi-famous people for their opinions on the interesting topics du-jour. The first installment will feature Patrick Kindlon - lead vocalist for the bands End of a Year and Drug Church, and the closest thing this world has to a social media guru who isn't lame as shit. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Patrick Kindlon. 



Who do you like to win the World Series this year?

Yankees. Is it likely? No, but believing something can happen in the face of proof it won’t is what separates optimists from assholes. 


What's your take on online dating? Would you try it?


Do hot girls exist there? If yes, sure. I don’t have any pride issues with that sort of thing. If a hot woman pops out of the sky, a computer screen, or a porta-potty, it doesn’t matter. End result trumps process when it comes to romance. 



If you had to entertain someone in Albany, NY for a weekend, where would you take them?

I’d drive them 50 miles in any direction so they’d be more entertained than they could be in Albany. 



Who do you think will win the GOP primaries? What do you think that person's chances are of becoming president? What would that mean for the country?

I’m going to say Dr. Doom is the likeliest candidate here. The GOP has become a cartoon. If they could put Cruella DeVille on a ticket they would. The most interesting political theatre of the past decade was watching John McCain sell his personal beliefs down the river in exchange for a shot at the throne. He’s a reasonable human being who became a caricature of a button-pushing white warlord for the votes that come with it. Maybe this time the GOP will urge a former moderate to wear a Hitler moustache and refer to the Middle East as “The Future Puerto Rico”.  


What's the most interesting place you've ever visited? Any cool stories?

Berlin is up there for me. I find that post-war history so damn sad and engaging. Also, Thailand. Maybe I was sheltered growing up, but until I visited Thailand I had never seen a woman shoot darts out of her vagina. I think that defines “interesting”.

There are a lot of musicians with a political focus to their music. Do you think political music has ever changed the world? Can it?

No. People are hicks. People enjoy being hicks. I bet if you polled the most retrogressive rednecks in Washington, The Beatles would make the short-list of favorite bands. I’ve met plenty of criminals who love Bob Marley. Nu-metal dudes love Refused. No one actually cares about a band’s message. It’s part of an image that helps sell a product. The band MIGHT care, the people who buy it MIGHT pretend to care, but no one ACTUALLY cares. And probably rightfully so. Why should they? Is there some wisdom an asshole in a band has that all the ignored scientists, researchers and theorists on this planet aren’t privy to?

Also, what would you like me to call your band when I put this up? End of a Year SDF work?

Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular

So, there you have it. The Interesting People Files featuring Patrick Kindlon. I'd like to thank Patrick for taking time out of his busy schedule to do this. 

P.S. New genres and Part 2 of the bands you must know about coming soon!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

10 Bands You Must Immediately Educate Yourself on the Existence of pt. 1 (10-6)

This is quite self explanatory, at least I believe it is. Part 2 soon, fools!

10. The Reptilian



I don't know exactly how to describe these guys. It's kind of like a screamo/mathcore amalgamation with really jazzy drums and Minus the Bear-esque guitar tapping guitar technique. Think Victor! Fix the Sun meets TNTLLY meets like Botch or something. It's a really niche sound, but if you're into it at all, I urge you to keep listening. These guys are only gonna get better as time goes on, and I have a feeling their next release is going to be a good one.

9. P.S. Eliot



To introduce this band, you may expect me to make some almost-patronizing reference to the fact that the majority of it's members are women. However, I don't want to do that because a) that's chauvinistic bullshit and b) these guys actually kick ass. They play a style of brash, honest indie rock that girls are so damn good at making, but with a nice grunge/punk drive that keeps shit interesting. Think Liz Phair meets early Nirvana. Or Hole, minus the whole being bad at making music thing. Apparently, P.S Eliot were going to break up earlier this year, but decided not to, presumably because their album Sadie kicked ass. I for one am stoked, and can't wait to hear more from them in the future.

8. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker


Okay, so their Approved EP was less than stellar in my opinion, but according to a reliable source, these guys are working on an album that will return them to their stripped down roots while still building on the pop sound they've cultivated over their last few releases. I really hope they can pull it off. At their best, these guys create eclectic, energetic dance beats based around strong indie-punk guitar-based tunes and earnest, heartfelt sentiment. Basically the friendliest push-mosh you'll ever be in. Ash Boo-Shultz is a lyrical genius, using strange references to science, religion, and seemingly whatever else to talk about his feelings in a way that's so fucking weird yet entirely relate-able. This band is all about mixing flash with substance, and when you do that the results are sometimes diluted (see: Approved). However, if USS can get that magic combination of quirkiness and killer songwriting back, look out.

7. TesseracT


Ladies and Djentlemen, I'm proud to present TesseracT. Easily the best musicians on this list, these Brits play a style of metal based around a challenging guitar technique, polyrhythms and time signatures that require a calculator to understand. If that sounds lame as shit to you, bear with me. Instead of beating you over the head with their impressive (read: shitty) songwriting, jumping through polka interludes and 19 minute long chant sessions, these guys opt to create music that's actually enjoyable to listen to. Their music is smooth, melodic, and flowing, and the only time you'll notice how technical they are is when you're bobbing along and realize you're out of time every 4 seconds or so.

6. Hunter City Madness


I went to college with two of the guys in this band, but if you think that's the reason they're on this list, think again. HCM serve up southern-fried metalcore northwoods style, offering tasty riff after tasty riff in an unrelenting sonic assault, but with just enough southern swing to get you moving your feet. Think a leaner, meaner, Every Time I Die. This would be the perfect soundtrack if you were running from the cops or laying a girl with lots of tattoos. Don't get me wrong, it's not just one big party – these guys are road-wary, well read, and most importantly good musicians, but god damn, they know how to let loose. Perfect mental image – Johnny Cash, Hunter Thompson and a lumberjack drinking whiskey and eating amphetamines at Maverick's. This is party hardcore for kids whose parties don't suck.

Monday, 11 July 2011

SOTD: Hot Water Music- Arms Can't Stretch


This tune is an absolute gem. Before Hot Water Music went on to define the beard-core genre, they were actually a very Jawbreaker/Leatherface influenced "emo" band. "Arm's Can't Stretch" is off one of their early EPs, and was released on their 12' comp Finding the Rhythms. It's such a simple song, yet so wrought with emotion and power in the way only HWM could deliver it.

The reason I love this so much is because it captures a very interesting time in the band's development. HWM were obviously still playing around with the direction they wanted to go in when they wrote this song, as it sounds more akin to Christie Front Drive than any of their later work (even the stuff of FFTHG, when they still sounded pretty "emo"). One of the coolest challenges of being a musician is stepping outside your comfort zone to find "your sound." Hearing a band so clearly experimenting with their direction is really neat, especially when their later work sounds completely different. It's also really neat when that experimentation is as well executed as this song is. It makes you wonder, what if...

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Worst Genre Ever, Pt 2

Today's installment of the shittiest genre ever will pit the nose singing Creed ripoffs of Flyover rock against the hopeless virgins of crunk-core. This is a battle of the only kids who got ass in high school that are getting paid well (minus pro athletes), against the manchildren who still resent the kids who got ass in high school. Here goes.

Flyover Rock

Flyover rock is a genre of rock'n'roll named after the states it's popular in. You know, the ones in between NOLA, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Denver that everyone chooses to take a plane over because of the complete dirth in art, culture, or anything remotely interesting to look at? Well, the last third of that sentence pretty much sums up flyover rock.

Aestetically and musically, flyover rock is some of the most boring shit on the planet. Essentially, take the four coolest dudes in high school, give them instruments, and let them play Bush covers. Then, take out Gavin Rossdale's lyrics (Bush's only redeeming quality) and replace them with banter about partying, fucking strippers, and other high brow material that the Clear Channel 16-35 year old crowd will gobble up. Oh, and every singer must sound like an extremely overproduced version of either Layne Staley or Eddie Vedder. Chris Cornell has too good of a range, and Kurt Cobain sounds like a little fairie boy to the steroid eating jocks they're trying to sell this shit to.

You have to remember, this is post-post-grunge music. Remember how big of a step down Silverchair was from Soundgarden? It got worse... a whole lot worse. These guys consider Nickleback part of their musical lineage. Worst part is, the guys making this shit are still getting more ass than you ever will. For now anyways... the Kings of Leon and other “indie” rockers are hot on their tail. (I'm pretty proud of that pun)

Crunk-core

Remember the kid at your high school who wore his sisters pants, dyed his hair all kinds of stupid colours, and constantly whined about how awful his life was, even though his Sunshine List parents gave in to every single one of his stupid demands? How about the white kid who wore baggy tees and flat-brimmed hats, referred to everyone as “dawg”, “nigga”, and “homie”, and used to freestyle in the smoking section at lunch, only to be pumped by the black kids for all his bus fare? Guess what? These two hopeless asshats somehow found each other, and for some unknown reason, are deciding to make music. Enter the unholy union that is crunk-core.

Crunk core is essentially everything that sucks about Attack Attack combined with everything that sucks about the Ying-Yang Twins. Shitty screaming, shitty rapping, Autotune, terribly written beats, annoying, overused synth, and “METUL AS FUKKKK!!!!1!!!” breakdowns. Somehow, this shit appeals to 14 year old girls, which is appropriate, because judging by the lyrical content, it was either written by 14 year old boys or registered sex offenders. Speaking of the lyrics, that's the worst part of this shit. At best (3OH3) the lyrics are BEP/Flyover material. At worst, they sound like they were written by 15-year-olds who won't see second base for at least another 7-10 years (Brokencyde).

And the Wiener is:

Oh fuck, that's not even close. Crunk-core is worse by a landslide. As inane and clich̩ as flyover rock is, it's at least tolerable to listen to in small doses. After all, these guys are being groomed by a major label. So while they sound about as interesting as listening to paint dry, at least they're presentable. Crunk-core on the other hand, is just plain trash. Also, when flyover jocks sing about fucking girls and getting wasted, they sound believable (probably because they do that kind of stuff a fair bit). Crunk-core kids sound like they're stealing material from Ava Devine to write their songs. Again, appropriate РAva Devine is to female sexuality as crunk-core is to good rap or hardcore. Essentially, fooling a lot of 14 year olds into thinking the real world's a lot different than it actually is.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Intelligence Vow



http://www.thefamilyleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/themarriagevow.final_.7.7.111.pdf

HOLY SHIT. 

It kills me when I have to be reminded that these types of people actually exist. Never mind the porn-banning or overt racism included in the pledge, the best part for sure (except for the capitalization error in the title, like are you serious?) is the end bit, when whoever signs this solemnly vows to never work with anyone who isn't a card-carrying, Kool-Aid sippin' member of this weird cult. This kind of psycho-babble wouldn't bother me so much if it didn't get past Armpit, Iowa City Council meetings where it belongs. However apparently GOP Candidate Michelle Bachmann hopped on board the crazy train and signed this thing. Come on y'all, let's ride that Bipartisanship to the promised land!

So, in light of this, I've decided to amend the marriage vow to fit my own political and personal beliefs. I'm going to call it "The Intelligence Vow", but only because the "Don't be a Fucking Tool Vow" is too long a title. I pretty much went word for word with the marriage vow, so it's best enjoyed with the marriage vow as a reference. Feel free to sign the vow in the comments section.

The Intelligence Vow

Rational thought and intelligence are at the heart of a designed and purposeful order- as conveyed by anyone with half a brain- upon which our concepts of morally inalienable human rights, racial justice and gender equality all depend.

Enduring open-mindedness and empathy for people with all points of view protects innocent children, vulnerable women, strong-minded women, various other types of women, and most types of men, who enjoy living without fear of reprimand from narrow-minded hicks who somehow find themselves in leadership/decision making roles. Our exceptional and free society simply cannot endure with the transmission of self-righteous bigotry stewed in ignorance, by means of deranged PTA moms, self-loathing closet gays and religious lunatics. As free-thinking individuals, we acknowledge and regret the hypocrisy of every TV news outlet, all of which claim to bring important, insightful information to viewers, while instead towing party lines and incessantly covering sensational non-stories. Unmistakably, enlightened opinions and open minds in America are in great crisis, as:

  • Black people, despite being visibly successful in every aspect of society, are often patronized by made-up statistics to make it seem as if their entire race lives in some seedy project in southeast Chicago. This allows whites to feign sympathy while secretly hinting at how foolish it was to elect a negro president.
  • Richard Nixon's War on Drugs was triggered by fear, impulse, and parent's refusal to talk to their kids about stuff. In 2006 the War on Drugs directly cost the US Government $30 billion, and an average of one million Americans are incarcerated on drug charges every year. In other news, millions of people worldwide continue to get high as shit on occasion without ruining their lives at all.
  • About three million Americans suffer through “Jersey Shore” each week. Many of them do it on their own free will.
  • The taxpayer borne social cost of organizations spinning statistics to fit their narrow minded ideologies exceeds US $112 billion a year, especially when the criteria for “taxpayer borne social costs” are as broad and unspecified as humanly fucking possible.
  • Meaningful discussion, challenging thought and emotional expression are in jeopardy as we have collectively “debased the currency” of art, politics, culture and sexuality. This debasement continues as a function of “family first” politics; The Tea Party; 95% of Congress; Canadian Parliament as a whole; Donald Trump; major news media outlets; Twitter; Victory Records; pervasive stupidity and asshattery among politicians, celebrities, cocky athletes, and other rich, undeserving pricks; anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of empirical proof, that God exists, that the King James Bible is the book of God, and that as simple-minded organisms we can enforce or even comprehend the will of an all knowing being; as well as anti-scientific bias which holds, in complete absence of scientific evidence, that homosexuality in particular, or sexual exploration in general, compromises individual or public health; and run on sentences.

The Candidate Vow

Therefore, in any elected or appointed capacity, or in my day-to-day dealings with other human beings and most four legged beasts, I the undersigned do hereby solemnly vow to cherish, defend and uphold the ideas of rational thought, intelligence, open-mindedness and empathy. I vow to do so through my:

  • Acknowledgement of grey areas.
  • Respect for love inclinations and sexual expression between all consenting adults.
  • Official fidelity to the U.S. Constitution. All of it. Not just the second amendment to the Bill of Rights.
  • Vigorous inquisition to any bullshit story or statistic made up by some god-fearing hick or self-righteous liberal douche. Or anyone else, for that matter.
  • Recognition of the overwhelming statistical evidence that everyone has a god damn opinion, and more importantly, a right to have it.
  • Ability to talk about things like a rational adult, even scary things like drug policy and teen sex.
  • Steadfast embrace of just letting gays get married already, for Christ's sake.
  • Humane protection of women by treating them like human beings who make mistakes and not heartless murderers, despite my personal views on abortion.
  • Rejection of Sharia law, fundamentalism, voodoo tricks, and any system of government based entirely upon speculation, interpretation, and personal faith being enforced as law upon people who may not hold similar beliefs.
  • Recognition that robust childbearing is NOT beneficial to U.S. Demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security, and that is sure as hell isn't beneficial to the health of the planet or the plight of third world nations.
  • Suggestion to cut down on military spending. I mean, are you serious? Do you know how much money we spend on that shit? I bet if we stopped blowing up brown people and reinvested some of that money into schools and community centres then maybe some of these “marriage vow” problems would start to go away on their own.
  • Fierce protection of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but at the same time, recognition that white Christian men are not oppressed, and that nobody gives a shit about my religious beliefs.

We, the undersigned (and suddenly pluralized), do solemnly vow that no U.S. President, U.S. Presidential primary candidate – nor any primary candidate for the U. S. House, Senate, Governor, state or municipal office – will, in his or her public capacity, have to sign this stupid vow before we engage in any kind of political affiliation with them. What kind of narrow minded fuckwit makes somebody sign something saying they agree with every one of their poorly thought out, highly personal policies before they even begin to work with them for the good of the country they've sworn to represent? Seriously? We can't even fucking believe there are people who think that's a good idea, let alone the fact that some of them have been elected to make decisions on behalf of us. Like, fuck – are you four years old? Can't we all just behave like rational adults and agree to disagree on some shit while we work together on other shit for the good of the people who elected us to lead them? You know what? Never mind, we're moving to Kenya. Keep your stupid country, you dicks.

Allah'u Akbar

Saturday, 2 July 2011

It Gets Better, Kids





Fumbling through the Internet trying to get into Set Your Goals (with mixed results), I came across Rise Against's new video for their song “Make It Stop (September's Children)”. The video was made to support the “It Gets Better” Campaign. If you don't know what that is, I urge you to check this out. Aside from putting a massive lump in my throat, the video reminded me of something I was going to do, but never got around to. I covered a story for my college newspaper just as the campaign was getting big, and I don't think I've ever felt as attached to a story in my life. I wanted to do something to help, but since I am neither gay nor good at videocasts, I decided to skip making a video and write something instead. Six-eight months later, here it is.

When I was 17, I attempted suicide. I won't get into the details, but I will say it was easily the lowest point in my life. There were a number of things going on at the time that I was having trouble dealing with – I had girl problems, my grades were too low to get into a good school, I was constantly butting heads with my parents and I felt alienated by friends and peers. One night these factors -- combined with a cocktail of bad weed, teen angst, and a particularly shitty winter -- became too much for me. I decided I was going to end my life.

In retrospect, that was the stupidest idea I've ever had.

As the saying goes, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Looking back on my attempt, everything I thought was unsolvable actually ended up working out for the better. My relationship with the girl in question grew to become one of the most meaningful friendships I've ever had; Instead of going to a prestigious school, I ended up at community college, where I greatly benefited from the practical learning environment without giving up the life-lesson/meeting great people part of college. Perhaps most importantly, the struggle made me closer with my family and the friends who helped me through than I ever was before. The things I wanted to die over turned out to be very important factors in shaping the rest of my life, which has been pretty damn good so far.

Now, I realize these problems are petty compared to what some gay kids are going through. I've never had to come to school every day fearing emotional and physical abuse; nor have I been eschewed by family and friends for a “decision” I never made; nor have I been told by politicians, preachers, and other “adults” that my instincts are “inherently wrong”. I can, however, tell you a few things I've learned since high school (roughly 2 years ago) that are ubiquitous among people who went through a lot of shit when they were teenagers (namely, everyone).

First of all, after you get out of high school, nobody gives a shit about your “flaws”. This especially applies for gay people. Once you get into post-secondary education/the real world, you'll find that the vast majority of people you know will either a) accept you for who you are, or b) be too wrapped up in passing tests/making friends/paying rent to care. And if any low-down moron actually has anything to say about your sexual orientation, guess what? You'll be too busy with your own problems to care what that asshat thinks of you. The same goes for straight kids. In high school, people have time to build social hierarchies based on who's dating who or who's wearing what. Once you get older, you find yourself not having the expendable energy to concern yourself with anybody but the people who stimulate you and make you happy.

I've also learned that there is so much more to life than high school. In the last two years, I've done things and met people that not only made me realize how foolish I was, but also made the hard times worth it. It's impossible to put in perspective the scope knowledge, life experience and, most importantly, the relationships I've gained since I was 17, and I'm only 20. Imagine how much more I'll have seen and done when I'm 23! Think about the things on the road ahead of you; moving out for the first time, your first real job, being able to drink legally, finding someone to settle down with – simple pleasures that are still oh-so-life affirming. Believe me, these are all things that make what you're going through worth it in the end.

When I was dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, the world seemed like a cold, confusing place. The coldest and most alienating part of it was feeling like nobody understood what I was going through. I can tell you now with confidence that everyone understands. Every adult on the face of the earth has been in the same position as you at one point in their lives, and any decent adult (or worthwhile friend) should be more than willing to help you get out of it. So, if you need help, reach out. Tell your parents. Tell your friends. Tell your cool uncle. Tell a teacher/community leader/adult you trust. E-mail somebody you admire and ask them for help. Call Kids Help Phone or the Trevor Project or whatever the hell else is out there. Do what I did, seek professional help, and then hunker down with some good music and start writing like mad. Hell, e-mail me (gugl0003@gmail.com), I'll talk to you about whatever's bothering you.

Whatever you do choose to do, stay alive.

I know it can be hard sometimes, but just remember – these are some of the most difficult and miserable years of your life. Once you get past this, it gets a whole hell of a lot better. Trust me.