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THE REVENGE OF BLACK FRIDAY

December 6, 2015 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir

 

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Black Friday has come and gone once more. This year we didn’t have as large of a turnout as in previous events, but the people who did camp out in front of our store were there for hours. And their labor paid off!

We received multiple copies of almost every Record Store Day release and the first in line always get the first crack at the section.

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Here they come!

 

However, a week later and we’re shocked at some of the gems still hanging around our shelves! Here are a couple you’re going to want to pick up before it’s too late. Afterall, Santa already has a lot on his plate.

 

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The Sonics – 50

Ok, we know you can already get reissues of Boom and Here Are The Sonics, but this beautifully assembled box set is not to pass up. Included are those two albums along with a third disc of rarities and outtakes. Thrown in are a 18”x24” poster and a 5,000 word, 36 page history of the band complete with detailed pics of the boys. Pretty much the end-all-be-all on a great band in rock history and a great gift for any collector.

 

 

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The Buzzcocks – Another Music in a Different Kitchen

The debut album from a quintessential band in punk rock lore. In 1978 a 23 year old Pete Shelley would write some of the most surreal and dreamy music from the time. By blending these elements with the burgeoning punk scene, the Buzzcocks helped create a sound that would later gain momentum in the 1990’s, giving them the well-earned moniker the “Godfathers of Punk.” This reissue come on translucent orange vinyl, putting a fresh face on a classic album.

 

 

 

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The Zombies – BBC Radio Sessions

It’s not unusual to see the Zombies on the RSD list, since there always seems to be at least a 7-inch reissue coming out around the holidays. However, this year they bring us a beautiful, two LP set compiled by Zombies expert/archivist, Andrew Sandoval, featuring previously unreleased tracks, interviews, and versions of classic songs. An obvious must-have for any Zombies fan, but it doubles as a great intro for newbs because of the BBC’s impeccable recordings and journalists.

 

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Sweet Baby Rey. The baddest bouncer in the Bay! 

KING DIAMOND SLAYS THE WARFIELD WITH ABIGAIL.

November 9, 2015 Leave a comment

by Mat Weir. 

I know, I know. It’s already been a week. That’s a horrible time to write a concert review because in our up-to-date-by-the-minute society, a week might as well be a year. But if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written here, you know that frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Besides, after a week I’m still trying to fully digest the awesomeness that was King Diamond in concert.

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On November 2, 2015 I felt like death. October had been a rough month on my physical and mental state and by November everything had revolted. But, I also had a ticket to King Diamond and Exodus at the Warfield in San Francisco with a couple of fellow Streetlight, metal warriors. With my head in a daze and my legs weak from weeks of constant work, I clearly saw the only thing I could do was dose myself with LSD and make sure my ticket didn’t go to waste. Obviously.

I would write about Exodus since they are a favorite, Bay Area thrash band and one I’ve been wanting to see for a while. However, by the time King Diamond finished, I had almost completely forgotten there was even an opening band. The King and his band were just THAT good.

Exodus

Exodus

With the stage decked out in gargoyles, upside down crosses and a giant second story deck with stairs on either side, King Diamond opened with “Mother’s Getting Weaker” off Them. The 59 year old artist didn’t disappoint with the theatrics and had a female counterpart dressed as an old woman, rolled out on stage. Of course, this was mother.

Mother's Getting Weaker

Mother’s Getting Weaker

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Throughout the next hour Diamond and crew blasted through a bunch of fan favorites like “Eye of the Witch,” and “Halloween” before diving into some Mercyful Fate territory. “Evil” and “Melissa” were personal favorites with a priest burning a witch and a giant, light-up goat-headed pentagram in the background. Oh yeah, and at one point. As Streetlight metal-aficionado, Dayan, pointed out, during “Come to the Sabbath” the female performer was acting out the Satanic ritual Diamond was singing about.

Hail to the King, baby!

Hail to the King, baby!

Burn the witch!

Burn the witch!

I mean, does it get any more METAL than THAT?!?

Then the lights went up and we realized the band hadn’t even started what we all came to see, the complete Abigail album from start to finish.

The classic 1987 album was King Diamond second solo and first concept album. It’s the story of Abigail La’Fey, a stillborn baby “birthed” through the murder of her mother, whose spirit haunts the unborn child of her future relatives. If that doesn’t make you want bang your head with joy, we can’t be friends.

The lights went out in the building and by this point I was completely drenched in the world created before me. Then, the familiar haunting bells and a spotlight appeared on King Diamond standing above a child coffin repeating the words, “We’re gathered here to night to lay to rest, Abigail Avail, who we now know was first born dead on the seventh day of July, 1777. . .”

July 7th, 1777.

July 7th, 1777.

And the crowd. . .well. . .the crowd exploded into a chaos of moshing, cheering and headbanging.

Watching King Diamond mesmerize the audience with his insane voice and high energy made it hard to believe he had a near fatal heart attack only five years ago. The heavy metal legend appeared in full-form, blasting through the classic 1987 album without missing a note and enacting the entire drama of Abigail. At one particularly fun acid moment, I realized we were witnessing the modern evolution of the  musical. Give it one or two more generations and you’ll see King Diamond-inspired sold-out shows on Broadway. I’ll be the old man saying “Back in my day, we had to stand to see musicals. And we called them metal shows back then, dammit!” Could be fun.
At the end of the night, King Diamond and his band came out for a second bow. He even stuck around for 10 minutes or so to shake hands and thank the crowd. I actually saw several metal heads leaning as far over the second story railing to bow and blow kisses at the man. Then again, don’t take my word for it, I was on drugs. Next time he tours your town, make sure you buy a ticket. And for god sake don’t tell your mom, or she might just drag you to church after.

TOURIST TRAP SOUNDTRACK REISSUED ON VINYL BY WAXWORK RECORDS

November 8, 2015 Leave a comment

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By Mat Weir

It’s a rainy day here in Santa Cruz and the only thing better than cozying up with some coffee at the buy counter in the store would be to cozy up under the blankets with some hot cocoa and a fresh bowl of Cali’s finest. Regardless of which way the day takes us, nothing beats a great soundtrack  to compliment the gray skies and we have just the one for you.

Once again our friends at WaxWork Records have reissued a previously hard-to-find horror soundtrack, this time choosing 1979’s Tourist Trap. Stephen King once called the film an obscure classic because it “wields an eerie spooky power.” No doubt partly thanks to it’s eerie soundtrack written by Pino Dinnaggio.

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Utilizing woodblocks, slide whistles and shrieking violins, Dinaggio summons the spirit of Hitchcock’s films with a timeless creep. From the almost kooky beginning to the crescendoing orchestra, Tourist Trap sets a bizarre and supernatural tone for the dreariest of days.
As with all Wax Work issues, this one features beautiful artwork, 180 gram vinyl, limited gatefold design and a gorgeous, fold-out  poster perfect for any record or horror nerd to frame.

BIG POINTS FOR BIG GRAMS

October 7, 2015 Leave a comment

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by Mat Weir

“Have you heard the new Big Grams album?” my buddy, Thomas Dawson, asked from the other room. “It’s the new collaboration from Big Boi and Phantogram.”

Wait, what? I didn’t even hear about this, let alone know it was already out.

When we last left Big Boi–aka ½ of Dirty South hip hop legends, Outkast–he dropped a 2012 solo album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors which also featured the electronic duo, Phantogram.

Apparently the three really enjoyed working with each other because last month they dropped the 7 song, self-titled, full-length.

Big Grams is  a curiously infectious album from two equally talented artists, even if their combination might seem strange at first. The psych pop rhythms and spacey beats of Phantogram complement the street knowledge delivered with Big Boi’s signature smooth flow.

The futuristic sound allows the listener to be an introvert, providing an ethereal plane to dive deeply into one’s thoughts and feelings.I haven’t tried it yet, but something tells me this would be a great soundtrack on a long drive in the black of night. Running from the past, heading into a great unknown, guided only by a few twinkling sparks of golden hope. Just like the chorus on the second track, “I hope you keep your lights on for me.”

Check out Big Grams this year at the Treasure Island Festival  Oct 17-18

PICK UP YOUR COPY OF BIG GRAMS IN-STORE AT STREETLIGHT RECORDS SANTA CRUZ OR SAN JOSE! 

SANTA CRUZ MUSIC FESTIVAL HEAVY METAL SHOWCASE

October 3, 2015 Leave a comment

SCMFMetal

by Mat Weir

Listen up all you hell-raisers, headbangers and long-haired stoner freaks! The Santa Cruz Music Festival  is back for it’s third year and this time they are unleashing the crushing brutality of metal upon historic downtown Santa Cruz. The masterminds backing SCMF–wizard promoters Angelo Shermann and Euphoric Styles–are taking over the 418 Project with spaced out, blood curdling and violent thrashing local metal bands for all your sadistic needs!

Hosted by the most ugly and masked El Pasty Guero, the man your mom blew behind Tampico’s for money, the metal showcase will feature nine, local, heshian and chaos creating acts over 10 hours of extreme mayhem. This ain’t some wimpy-ass festival thrown by a bunch of sold-out rock stars, these musicians are young and thirsty for your blood, sweat and pain!

SATAN’S BLADE – Hailing from the caverns of San Jose, this freshly formed quartet mixes power metal, thrash and a high dose of speed for a set of satanic-fueled fire. Their debut demo, Curse of the Blade, was released in June of this year, but they’ve been slaying audiences throughout the Bay Area for about a year and have done numerous stints in Santa Cruz. Their guitarists slash through notes with technical ease as the rhythm section holds a steady spinal beat and their drummer even sings when they aren’t playing one of their epic instrumental numbers. Satan’s Blade’s music spins tales of death and destruction while riding the wind to the next massacre and they are the perfect openers for this year’s Santa Cruz Music Fest.

http://satansblade.bandcamp.com/releases

DRAIN – Sludge-thrash crossover quartet, Drain, reap credulous youthful minds with a bloody, old school scythe of sound. Their four song demo, recorded at the local Comprehensive Studios and released this past May, is a patchwork of songs as tightly sewn as the band insignias on their jackets. Drain’s music is a violent rush of gritty disarray with buzzing guitar riffs and pulverizing drum beats sounding the call to war or ultimate destruction. After their set, your mind will be–you guessed it–drained.
http://drain831.bandcamp.com/releases

A THOUSAND SHALL FALL – Brutal, uncompromising, relentless and with a sound unlike any other in the local metal scene, A Thousand Shall Fall has been blasting Santa Cruz since 2011. The quintet formed as an answer to all of the cliche “genre bands” in the world. From the start they decided to play the music they wanted, combining elements of death and technical metal with the nihilism of black metal. They even throw in a break down here and there as a nice “fuck you” to anyone who tries to classify their music.Two years after forming, they dropped their first album, In the Shadow of the Mighty, four balls-to-the-wall songs themed around the apocalyptic destruction of a living planet. How fucking metal is that? Last year they released their second recording, Horizon, two of their finest songs yet swimming in the theme of new life birthed from the embers of our own destruction. Their live show is a theater of chaos which words can do no justice. Trust us, you don’t want to miss this one.

STONE SLOTH — Let there be DOOM! Recently formed, Stone Sloth has already made a name for themselves in the local scene. They reign a heavy blanket of audible destruction over the audience with their double guitars, droning bass, hammering drums and guttural vocals. Their presence onstage is intimidating and brooding as they wrench the evil from within and lay it out in front of the unsuspecting audience. They recently released their first recording in July, a 7-minute lesson in Santa Cruz sludge called, Whale Bait, that can be purchased on their bandcamp. After one listen you’ll agree: just because they’re one of the newest bands on this year’s lineup, doesn’t mean Stone Sloth will be ignored.

https://stonesloth.bandcamp.com/releases

LEUCROTA — Gritty and political, Leucrota delivers blackened crust with a crushing blow. Their five song demo, released in February, is a cacophony of sound with layers of bone-rattling goodness. It weaves from serene doom to black metal guitars with disgusting screams slaughter on top.  Just when you think you know what’s happening they suckerpunch you with some sped-up hardcore. This all makes for a live show blasted with sweat, beer and someone else’s blood. You’ll make it out alive, but you’ll never be the same.

WORSHIP— Hailing from the depths of Salinas rides the heavy destruction of Worship. Drawing from hardcore and metal influences like Tragedy, Baroness, Converge and Botch , they add a twist of sludgy goodness for a sound all their own. Throughout the year they’ve played multiple shows around Santa Cruz, with their audience growing quicker than Lemmy’s health problems. Of course their commanding stage show speaks for itself, but it also doesn’t hurt to have an amazing debut like All Too Human under your belt. This is one band you’ll want to keep your eye on in the near future.

MOUNTAIN TAMER — Of course it wouldn’t be a true local lineup without some heavy psyche and that’s just what Mountain Tamer brings to the table. This electrified trio drops dots of mind-erasing interstellar clarity on the ears with spine-crunching gravity. With multiple time changeups all driven by the hairbanging grooves every smoker craves, they’re the type of band you want to listen to while cruising down Highway 1 on your motorcycle. . .or maybe buy a motorcycle, first. One thing’s for sure, this ain’t your daddy’s psychrock.

THE BAD LIGHT — This group believes in three things: the blues, lots of fuzz, and big-ass bass drums. For years the Bad Light has been a local favorite, always drawing a large crowd from all walks of life. This is due to the band’s eclectic sound, combining a Southern, swampy blues with a driving beat and melodic vocals that catch the ear of rockers and metalheads alike. Don’t believe us? Check out their two full-lengths, 2012’s Marrow of Sound, and 2013’s roadhouse oriented, Onward Downward to see just what we mean. And have no fear all you long-time fans, rumor has it The Bad Light is back in the studio cookin’ up some more savory soul food to feed your starving earholes in the near future.

FOUNTAIN OF BILE — Perhaps their Facebook description says it all, “We are Fountain of Bile. FUCK YOU.” This unkempt quartet is a powerhouse of sound drawing influences everywhere from Motorhead and Pantera to Decapitated and even “inappropriately targeted advertisements,” in their own words. Each musician is a testament to his instrument as they serenely control the stage like they were born on stage in sweaty carnage. This is death thrash with enough black metal seduction to pulverize your face in a circle pit of flailing bodies.

PARASITIC EJACULATION— Once you see Parasitic Ejaculation live, it’s hard to look your momma straight in the eye,ever again. Since 2011, these purveyors of puss and gore have been raining Brutal Death metal with technical dynamics as savage as their name. In that time, this local quintet has shared stages with Pathology, Decapitated and Gorgasm, just to name a few. This year saw the release of their sophmore full-length, Echoes of Depravity, but this cataclysmic crew is already back in the studio recording number three. If disgustingly grimey metal is your taste, then prepare to choke-til-you-vomit on some Parasitic Ejaculation.

Review: Fight Till Death – Ruled By Hate

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment

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by Mat Weir

This debut full-length from heshers, Fight Till Death, is a maelstrom of violence and desolation carried on a sea of thrashing death metal destruction. Shocking from an album with a name like Ruled By Hate, right? The real surprise is finding out the scourge of sound is rained from only three Santa Cruz lokes.

Since forming in 2013, Fight Till Death have delivered their unholy metal upon unsuspecting venues, but with the rarity of seasoned musicians; never saturating the market, so the audience grows with every offering. Their live show is a campaign of headbanging, taking elements from your favorite names in metal like Death, Exodus, Decapitated, and the (Kerry) kings of death thrash, Slayer.

From the first song, this trio explodes with enough energy to blast the front row into a monstrous pit. Throughout the night the sweaty beast feeds upon itself and grows until half the room is trying to stay alive while the people on the edge cower in worry of being sucked in.

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When they released Ruled By Hate in March of this year, I knew it was going to be good. But in my opinion, Fight Till Death is a band to see live. After all, even drive-by music fans knows if the band is good, there’s nothing like seeing them rock-the-fuck-out right in front of your eyes. For a metal fan, the drums hit your spine like bat while the guitars rattle your bones to the point you have to fucking do SOMETHING because standing around isn’t an option. Unfortunately, not all bands can record that surge and for some it eludes their whole studio career. I hoped this wouldn’t be the fate of FTD’s debut, but couldn’t shake the worry. Too much of a realist, I guess.

So when I finally had a chance to sit down and listen to the six song blitzkrieg, I quickly realized maybe I worry too much (and maybe I’m holding myself back because of this worrying. Anyone know a good shrink?) because holy-mind-melting-hell this is a firestorm of a first album. From the cacophonous opening that fades into decapitating drum beats to the last song, “One More Trip Through Hell” Fight Till Death proves they are a force to be reckoned with. They scream into the world in this bloody birth of relentless, uncaring anger.

Their aggression also stems from how musically tight the trio is. Each member owns their skill with precision, hitting the exact changes they want with a flurry of notes that are neither superfluous nor derivative. In other words, they aren’t reinventing the wheel, but it ain’t the same old shit other bands vomit up.

“Unholy Flaming Tomb,” the fifth song on the album almost doubles as a twisted Pantera-homage, with slow down-strokes, only to spin into high-pitched, insanity-fueled speed. Then there are songs like the title track which throw the listener right in the middle of the circle pit with elbows looking to break whoevers nose is in the way.

This is the album for any meat-and-potatoes metal lovers because they know the extra frills are for children. Raw and bloody, Fight Till Death’s music is a good gauge to see which of your friends are true metal heads, and which ones think the Warped Tour is a good representation of today’s “scene.” Play Ruled By Hate on repeat to start your day, piss off your asshole neighbors, and to worry your boss that you might need some days off due to “stress;” you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed: Best Coast – California Nights

July 29, 2015 Leave a comment

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by Mat Weir

Can you believe summer is already halfway over? For most of the country it means only 45 or so remaining days of bikinis, barbeques and sun. Luckily, living in Santa Cruz equates to nine months of sun. However, no matter what time of year it is, nothing compares to a California night. Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno of Los Angeles rock duo, Best Coast, know it’s true and proclaim it proudly with their third LP, California Nights.

Formed in 2009, Best Coast has been known for their double-edged love and heartbreak songs dipped in candy-coated garage pop. With Cosentino’s sweet voice singing lyrics like,

Every day’s the same
I feel like I’m losing my mind
All I do is think about you all the time
I don’t even know why I care as much as I do

They brought a sense of masochism wrapped in innocence. The kind only a teenager or 20-something can feel, the rest of us old folk can remember with a tepid nostalgia. Maybe more like a patronizing pat-on-the-head.

California Nights finds Bruno and Cosentino falling into the same trap most of find ourselves–growing up–however they prove it can be done without losing yourself. In the opening track, “Feeling Ok,” Cosentino sounds fresh and ready to take on the world with a new confidence absent on previous recordings. I mean, two albums ago I wouldn’t imagine the duo even writing a song called that, especially with such clear and bubbly production.

“Jealousy” is another favorite that also serves as a change of pace for the band. Previously, a song with that title would probably be about Cosentino’s feelings about her lover hanging out with another woman, or possibly her own jealousy/envy over a friend. However, maturity has the singer/songwriter holding the upper hand asking “Why don’t you like me? What’s with the jealousy?” presumably to a lover or possible family member.

Of course, not everything is different in the Best Coast world. Fans know Cosentino’s love for the Cali green and she’s still blowing smoke on the album’s title track.

I stay high all the time
Just to get by
I climb into the sky
And my eyes, they cry

California nights
Make me feel so happy I could die
But I try to stay alive

However, Cosentino once again shows her maturity in life and songwriting, later on, even if she still questions it.

Fading back and forth
I fly through my mind
I take the way I’ve known
But have I really grown?

By the end of the record, it’s clear: California Nights is the Best Coast sound fans love apart from the angst of previous recordings. The band has matured, putting on their adult pants and maybe substitute the morning wake-’n-bake ritual for a cup of coffee and the morning news. Maybe. One thing’s for sure, this is an album that will be in regular rotation on my turntable for years to come. Call it a guilty pleasure, but nothing quite compares to some good weed paired with pop tunes on these warm California nights.