Sunday, August 22, 2010

Punch- Push, Pull LP

Review by: Stephen Tompkins

*Sorry I couldn't get the album art to work.

To order the LP visit:

I only got this album last night, but I'm going to go ahead and say this right out... Punch's latest LP Push Pull is my favorite release this year; which shouldn't come as a shock to anyone who knows anything about this band. Their debut 7" Eyeless, and their first Self-titled LP were easily two of the best hardcore releases in recent years.

While most hardcore bands coming out of the San Francisco bay area (like Ceremony) had an indistinguishable sound, Punch drew inspiration from that, but always had a harder, raw sound setting them apart from everyone else.

This is proven further on the new LP, where Punch has added more punk and powerviolence influence. See "Stay Afloat," as the band shifts between d-beats and blast beats seamlessly. Even the riffing in "Give It A Name," is reminiscent of Discharge. And although I haven't gotten a chance to find the lyrics yet(which I hope I do soon), I'm certain, judging by the quirky/smart song titles like "Positively God Free," that they are as equally politically charged and smart as the prior release's.

I just hope this band plays Cleveland soon (they had to cancel last week's show because Meghan, the singer broke her ankle on tour in Europe), and keeps releasing killer albums like this one!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Stereofiend is becoming a zine!

Here is a rough overview of the layout of Stereofiend. Word counts are mandatory and if they are not met withing 25-50 words, I reserve the right to cut down or cut your piece altogether. I'm not trying to be a dick, I just want things to move smoothly. Also, pieces are to be submitted in timely fashion. If you have a deadline... meet it! I will also be editing your work, if you see changes do not be offended, everyone gets edits.

* I understand that this may make potential submitters a bit apprehensive, but I just want Stereofiend to run efficiently, and not become a zine that comes out every 5 months. Thanks :)

Word counts are as follows:

cd/show/movie/art/food reviews- 200 words + art

feature story- 500-600 words + art

comics should be 3-4 blocks, as to fit two to a page. There is an exception if your comic is really good.

*You are responsible for providing art for your piece. When doing so, you must give credit where credit is due. This means: state who took the photo/drew it. where, and when this happened.

What to expect from Stereofiend:
Stereofiend will be a 7 page DIY zine, hopefully coming out bi-weekly.

pg. 1- Stereofiend Contact info, masthead, and submission guidelines. Letters to and from the editor.
pg. 2- Vegetarian recipes: snacks, actual meals, appetizers.
pg. 3-4- Feature story: for example a band feature, restaurant feature etc.
pg. 5- Reviews
pg. 6- Comics/local art
pg. 7- Photo of the issue. And also what to expect in upcoming issues.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Changing Year... Best Albums of 2009

Its almost February and I'm just now doing my favorite albums of 2009. Oh well. I came to the realization that most of my favorite albums this year saw the given band tweaking its original sound. Without further adieu... My favorite albums of 2009

5. The Spits- 3

I like this album so much because The Spits seem to realize what writing catchy and approachable punk music is all about. Old punks, and young ones, too, can't stop raving about this band.

PS, your mom fist pumps to this band.

4. Tegan and Sara- Sainthood

This is my new favorite Tegan and Sara album, simply because they are showing that they have the ability to take sounds created by bands like MGMT, and make you feel less bad for liking it.

3. Weekend Nachos- Unforgivable

While this is far from my favorite release from Weekend Nachos, the album is still awesome. WN has crossed from straight powerviolence into the realm of mixing powerviolence and punk. Listen closely and you'll hear the d-beat in a couple songs.

2. Hellshock- They Wait for You Still

I love the new Hellshock album simply because Hellshock is an amazing heavy band that blends the best elements of punk and metal. The new album simply captures that sound, but is even heavier.

1. Kid Cudi- Man on the Moon the End of the Day

Many people think that I only like Kid Cudi because he is from Cleveland. On the contrary, I like him because his beats are super dope, and he is an amazing lyricist (See "Soundtrack 2 My Life," where he says: I'm super paranoid/like a 6th sense/since my father died/I ain't been right since/and I tried to piece the puzzle of the universe/split an eighth of shrooms just so I could see the universe.) His collabo's with Ratatat didn't hurt his chances of topping the list either.

*The album that almost made it: Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Slayer World Painted Blood Review

By: Stephen Tompkins

Slayer albums since 1998 have lacked the brutality that made Slayer who they were in the '80s and early ‘90s--and fans have put up with its bullshit for too long. Its been three years since the release of Slayer's latest execrable release, Christ Illusion. So, Slayer's forthcoming 10th studio album World Painted Blood, available November 3rd, had better hit hard. Especially since it will be one of Slayer's last three albums ever. I want to hear more Seasons In the Abyss and less Diabolus in Musica.
Although not all of the tracks have been leaked I had a chance to check a few of them out, and it looks as though Slayer may have realized what it was doing wrong for the past 11 years.
When the 7" version of "Psychopathy Red," was released on April 18, blogs everywhere raved about Slayer employing its '80s thrash metal sound that was lost in the shuffle over the past decade, and I totally agree--Slayer has fully reclaimed its sound.
"I think this one has a little bit of everything — more so than anything we've done since Seasons. So I would imagine people are gonna compare it to that one," Slayer guitarist, Kerry King said on the band’s website.
The lyrical matter is on point. See “Psychopathy Red,” a song about a famous Russian serial killer, where lead singer Tom Araya sings:
"Body count Laying down mutilated/It's your time to die/Desolate/Lurk your satisfaction climax with your death/All alone/You're praying intimidated with my lust for fear Dehumanize/Crying out stimulated/Your screams fill my soul."
The rest of the tracks follow suit. "Hate Worldwide," covers Slayer elements fans seek There is the squealing guitar, channeling "Aggressive Perfector," the down-tempo breakdown reminiscent of "Criminally Insane," and Araya hitting the ultra high notes seen on "Angel of Death."
The title track "World Painted Blood," is straight thrash 'til death, the only downside being that King's infamous guitar triplets (see "Raining Blood" on Reign in Blood at about 1:26) have slowed, but the aggressive output is still there.
If the remainder of Slayer's releases encompass the viciousness of World Painted Blood, it won’t matter what region of the world you live in, because it will be Seasons in the Abyss all-year-round.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stereofiend commercial, and other news

Sorry for the lack of updates. School just started back up, and I've been really busy for the past two weeks. But I have some news about other endeavors I'm taking on.

1. For my intermediate journalism class I have a weekly beat to fulfill, and that is to interview street/subway musicians in New York City. So, every week I will go out with a camera, and or camcorder and record these events and post them to the class blog. If you want to visit the class blog go here:

Me talking about my beat for the class. I know I'm not the best at talking! That's why I write!

2. I have plans to shoot a Stereofiend commercial for youtube in the coming weeks, and it should be pretty rad. I haven't decided yet who I will shoot it with, but regardless it will be interesting.

3. I've been listening to a lot of music here's a good screamo band I discovered, and my vote for worst (attempt at a) screamo band I've ever heard.

The People Listening Wonder.

Good Screamo) The People Listening Wonder. This band is broken up now, but they released a split with Dodeward a few years back. In all they recorded six tracks, four of which are available. Be sure to check them out.

Bad Screamo) My own private Alaska. Honestly it was the name of the band that first interested me, but that's as far as it went. I was intrigued when I heard they had a piano player... until I listened to it. This is not real screamo, but a knock off version suited for an appearance on MTV. 16-year-old kids everywhere who think this, and bands like The Used is good screamo should go fuck themselves!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Masakari East Coast tour 2009

*The following chronicles the two weeks I spent on the road with Masakari, spanning August 1-August 14, 2009. The experience changed my life for the better and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to hit the road with my friends. I hope we do this again, sooner than later!

Masakari, Mad Minds, Dave, Jason, Anthony, and I. Cincinnati, OH.

*The list of cities played in order: New York, NY, S. Burlington VT, Hartford, CT, Pittsburgh, PA, Richmond, VA, Parkersburg, W. VA, Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, Cleveland, OH

*Photos courtesy of Jason Frank, unless otherwise noted. More photos available.

It's raining, I'm in my room, and all that I can think about is how depressed I am that tour is over, and I'm not enjoying the open road and good company of friends any longer. Let's do this again... soon!

Wait! That's not all! I want to tell you more, but I have so many thoughts jumbled in my head about this tour, that organizing them into a traditional article for you feels impossible. So I'm going to share my memories of tour with you... in the jumbled order that they came to my head, so you can enjoy the memories as they came to me. Promise to never forget them, because I sure as hell won't!

I can't even begin to describe the late night front and back porch conversations, the getting slap-happy every fucking night and cracking up at nothing. The front porch jam sessions in Pittsburgh, the driving to Vermont in the rain to play for 10 people, getting paid $10, telling a drunk man out front that this was the biggest crowd draw we'd ever gotten, and that we usually play barns and carry our equipment on horseback. Maybe you want to hear how 10 minutes later we were threatened to get off the property or the owner was going to get his gun.

Masakari. Cincinnati, OH. Photo: Jason Frank

I can't begin to tell you about how Bat damon changed our lives, Dr. Rainbows was crazy, he offered us a banana. The pizza was good, and how I decided to stay on the whole tour. I can't imagine describing the hi-jinks that went into every gas station stop, getting called "faggots," in West Virginia. Beating the shit out of drunk asshoes in Columbus with Mad Minds, having the same drunk assholes tear my Yoda shirt I bought the night before in Richmond, Virginia. Wearing my Yoda shirt as I write this, because it was sewn back up for me, and I haven't washed because it still smells like tour!

What about the show in Lexington, Kentucky with Mad Minds, where we made $1.50 each, and Mike and Kellar stripped to their underwear during the set. How Masakari was only allowed to play a five minute set that night, and how it seemed like a waste of time going there, but turned out to be really fun! What about Joe's crazy roommate, shit there were a couple, scratch that. Fuck, I forgot to tell you about white Richard Pryor, or the guy with hair plugs in New Jersey, who didn't know where the fuck he was. What about the water hose fights in Columbus, Jason thinking that "Krumsville," was hilarious, and Nick telling him it wasn't. Jon almost wrecking the van within five minutes of driving. Credit or debit?

Masakari playing my favorite set at Abc No Rio. Jason's rock hard nips. Joe making shoes out of tan hide. Jon doing the worm in a circle on the streets of Pittsburgh. Jason and Jon having a worm race in Mr. Robotos. The singer of Bludwulf getting out of the van in sweatpants and a t-shirt, and immediatley putting on leather pants, catchers pads, and eyeliner in the van mirror. The same dude putting a Chaotic Alliance 7" on our merch table to spite us, and us selling it two minutes later! Yeah, fuck you, brah! The singer of Bludwulf mispronouncing the name of his own song, and being corrected by an audience member, and him talking about smoking a bong in the graveyard!

Jason claiming Vermont was famous for cheese. Us not believing him, and finding out little by little on tour that he was right. Holy shit! How could I forget the guy in Pittsburgh walking down the street selling and saying, Incense, Oils, Movies, and Music! And Nick's touch down dance to go with the song. Or Dirty Dave in Cincinnati.

Masakari. Pittsburgh, PA. Photo: Jason Frank

Me sucking at rolling Buglers. Listening to "Whatever (Folk Song in C)," almost every day. Black ladies asking Greg and I if we knew where we were in Kentucky. Mad Minds tour van breaking down in Cincinnati and it fucking sucking:( Dagmar playing in West Virginia! Coney's at Skyline Chili not being that great. Euclid as fuck with Anthony. Asking Anthony if he remembers back in the day.

Mad Minds tour van after breaking down. Cincinnati, OH. Photo. Jason Frank

Writing songs about Bat Damon. Singing Doo-Wop songs at the top of our lungs on our way back to Cincinnati from Lexington. Tony, and I, and Edwin Bohr! Talking about Boy Meets World until 4 in the morning. The Brass Rail, and other crazy events in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Preying Hands ruling. Watching Star Wars a million times. Vegan Jumbalaya in Milwaukee. Jason drunk on wine in Pittsburgh, and him being hilarious. Record shopping everywhere, the birdman game with Mad Minds. Jon starting every sentence with "I'm not going to lie." The back window of the van leaking every time it rained. Around the world and Horse in Pittsburgh. And playing around the world until 5 am with Jason and Joe. Joe being terrible, and Jason eventually winning!

Group photo with Preying Hands. Chicago, IL. Photo: ?

Mad Minds being the most fun band ever-- on and off stage! The creepy dude in Columbus that tried to get us to go out with him at 5 in the morning, while sitting on his bike, and asking us through a window. The spider in Tony's sleeping bag. Nick yelling "Kevin," at the kid in Vermont, when talking about Home Alone. Greg giving Jason a "Fuck Italy," tattoo. Joe didn't break any strings on tour (I think.) Kellar saying "No sleep 'til Brooklyn," to Joe when he was trying to sleep. Me asking Jon to pick a color in the rainbow, saying "choose from Roy G Biv," him saying pink and me telling him it's not Poy G Biv. Anthony asking Jon if he believes in Angels, right after my question.

Using three flannels as my blanket, and my bookbag as a pillow. Following Jason for two miles barefoot into Fort Wayne, with Tony and Nick to see if he would make a move... at 5 am! Gas crisis '09 (Nick and Tony will get that.) Greg doing De Niro. Did somebody say wood? Joe doing Louis Armstrong and saying "I'm over here, Elmo!" Being so glad I stayed on the whole tour, every day!

Holy fuck! Cleveland Snake Squad! Fake Star Wars tats. Bench press competitions in Sears. The Yellow Wallpaper convo with Tony. The pushy bum in Kentucky, who wouldn't give up. Listening to Surcease in Columbus. Joe parking in Chicago. Staying up all night in the van talking about Zodiac, with Greg and Joe and talking about how Elliott Smith was murdered.

Tony, and I waiting to be paid. Cincinnati, OH. Photo: Jason Frank

Jon seeing "Insurrect. Thanks for having us!" written on a wall at the house show in Fort Wayne, and saying "I wonder if Insurrect played here." Greg impersonating Daniel Day-Lewis to a tee in There Will Be Blood, as well as the girl in VA counting to 10, and talking about potatoes and ivory in an Irish accent. Seeing the singer of Municipal Waste at Aladdin's.

Finding a crazy character in every city. Skating the Indiana skate park with Jason, Greg, and Jon. Joe buying six snapples at one time. Watching 'Return of the Jedi,' on a projector in Richmond, VA. The parking ticket in Chicago. Yinz in Pittsburgh. Anthony asking if "Running with the Devil," was actually running with the Devil, or having a run-in with the Devil. Jon seeing how many M&M's he could stuff in his mouth.

Tony, and Jon with the M&M's. Cincinnati, OH. Photo: Jason Frank

Getting on the freeway going the wrong way the first minute of tour. Jon wanting Taco Bell all the time. Me punching Greg's guitar on accident and getting a bloody hand. Floor stomping with Masakari every night, bruising my heels because of it. Being the hype man in the crowd every night. Only bringing one shirt on tour, and having to borrow other people's for the remainder. Getting to shower now and then. Sleeping in the van with Nick and Tony in Richmond and the mother fucker doing construction next to our car at 6:30 am. The Yoda bookbag idea with Tony. Being obsessed with Yoda in general. Bonding with friends. The fossil shirt in CT (Greg.)

Wishing this was my Star Wars collection. Milwaukee, WI. Photo: Jason Frank

Skating with that crazy dude in CT. Not knowing the lyrics to Masakari songs, but screaming along with them anyways. The kid throwing up while I tried to sleep in NYC. Wanting to see the U.S. Waiting in the hospital in Cleveland to see if Nick was OK. Jon buying 13 LP's on tour. Jon losing his cigarettes every day. Doing the death metal voice the first few nights of tour, losing my voice and never getting the death metal voice fully back. The house show in CT ruled! Masakari played really well in Milwaukee and Chicago. The end to the last song of Masakari's set blowing my mind every night!

Masakari. Chicago, IL. Photo: Jason Frank

Tony getting complimented on his lyrics by a kid in Chicago. Stacking shit on Jason while he slept in the van, and Greg writing on him. Doing all of the tape inserts on the way to NYC. Not being able to sleep/breathe in the dungeon. The boring ass kid in the Columbus backyard. Unloading, and loading/organizing the trailer every night. Only having one day off. Being pissed that we had to spend the day off in Pittsburgh. The kids at Travis' being wasted off of one 40 oz. each. Wanting to go swimming every day, but never doing it. Joe playing the song from Dennis the Menace. Seeing new faces every day. Trying to find parking with Tony in Richmond. Almost getting Mad Minds to get in the Masakari van for the rest of tour from Cincinnati. Group photos in Cincinnati.

The arguement between Jon, and Tony about The Clash. Joe getting the car keys stuck in a telephone wire. Jon surviving on skittles. Throwing Skittles, and bread at the van while Tony slept in it. Being jealous that Mad Minds went to a water park, and we didn't. Kellar having blood on his Vans. Trying to write with Tony. Staten Island (I have no words!) The subway to my apartment running slower then fuck when we had no sleep. Jason and Jon reminding me of The 3 Stooges, especially when Tony was moving the van to the hitch in Milwaukee. Burritos at Fuel. Nick walking down the street in Pittsburgh, when I didn't know he went on the car ride with us, and saying that dude looks like Nick, and realizing it was actually him! The Blood Clots playing entirely too long in Chicago. Waking up on the car ride from Chicago FREEZING AS HELL! No one giving up a seat to Greg in the middle of the night. He had to sit shotgun the whole drive. Sorry, Greg! Having the best two weeks of my entire life!

Well, that should be long enough, and keep your brains occupied with plenty of thoughts. I just want you to know I had a lot of fun, and hope I get the chance to do this again!

I leave you with this...

Are you serious Jones? You must be seriously stoned! You fuck with Stevie T, and you get seroiusly owned. Are you a computer geek? You'll get seriously pwned. The rap battle and kingdom has become my throne.

'Nuf said.