Porn (the men of )
Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles, CA. August 27th

Dale Crover-pasty drum beast, all pro. He was sitting in with Porn, a San Fran trio who were left label-less by Man’s Ruin when Kozik’s bong rock catalog cashed. Without the vintage beaver shots and ill colored layout so familiar to Frank’s artistic decisions, Porn was still able to play music, the other part of being on a label. They slugged it home in full disregard for critics like me who give a fuck about the supposed “progress” inherent in good music. And why not disregard? When Dale Crover is busting traps for you come Hydro or Heineken, there’s little to lose. The show was an earplug tester for the 30 odd people who read the fine print in the music listings. They played six jams thru an Orange full stack, an Ampeg SVT and the oil barrels Dale uses for rhythm making.

Playing in dropped “D”, the dynamics were a little limited to one-finger chords, which when used intelligently is as much as an art form as “Minimalism”. The guitarist used a glass slide, played thru 2 wahs, a Big Muff, and an Echoplex “Maestro” pedal which created looped, statically charged mud for a guitar sound. The bass, overdriven as well, created unison in tone, leaving only Dale to riff between the mid-tempo open “D” bass lines. Dale is so quick that he was pedaling 16th notes on his double bass while hitting every tom and cymbal on his kit. For those of you who follow the Melvins, this was the “fast” Dale stuff.

The music was smile-to-my-face good. Familiar easy listening of the metal dirge brand.
The songs were basically “one-parters” with the guitar either making harmonious deviations or fully synching with the bass. The changes were too few and very good, bringing Dale right into the hook of the part. He has such a presence I’m surprised they didn’t write in more hooks.

Either way, it was the most intimate setting I’ve watched Dale in (5ft from his kick drum). Between the drumstick helicopter swings and the Animal impression, the drumming alone was worth the 7$ cover. King Buzzo and Kevin Ruthmanis were in attendance also but the Melvins didn’t play like I daydreamt. Reminiscent of late-nite hours spent in the jam space, letting the riffs go to the ether, the Men of Porn did it with people watching. Cut.

The Wasted Ones/Decry
The Garage, Los Angeles, CA, August 28th

The coolest aspect of the LA hardcore resurgence is that I might not call it a resurgence. It is allowed to live here, though it might be caged. Scant few bands can justify not writing new material. The relic-like, anthem-esque stance of hardcore makes the whole show more like a church event, a bi-monthly “Resurrection” for the purpose of keeping the message alive. As if in these days of depthless pastiche and nod-scene nostalgia the pillars of a scene are brought together to march against the “actors” in the movie of music. There’s identification within hardcore and late-punk culture that is harder to capture than in other genres. I think this has to do with hardcore’s overt, radical political stance and the alienated appearance of it’s followers. Unlike the groveling grabbers of regurgitated giblets—like copping a buzz from Methadone puke-up—who appropriate Ron Wood’s haircut, Vince Neil’s eyeliner, Adam Ant’s stripes and the “do me in the ear” sexuality of Iggy, hardcore has remained just what it is, “Hardcore”. You know what I mean because you use the word “hardcore” to describe all that which is true, tough, holding fast, or just fucking there. And here it was, is.

Stagnation, it could be argued, is the meaning of the hardcore upkeep. But to counter stagnation we must see it’s polar opposite, Revolution (or fluidity, or motion). And then ask—can we call the current state of popular underground music and its visual identifiers as “movement”? Or is it more bilge and bacteria grown in that icky pond behind the apartment complex? I’ll give you a hint—don’t ask your too tight, ironic Lady’s softball team tee shirt.

This hardcore scene, preserved as if in amber, is small. The top head count was forty for the middle bands and 20 for the headliner. But still 3 of those folks stepped to the stage almost every song to sing along—grab the mic style—with the songs that might be modern day mantras.

Decry was in great style this evening. The last time I saw them the drummer up and left after stating out loud “we never should have done this.” 3 years later, a new face behind the kit, and the band was real authentic once again. Farrell, the bleach-blond singer has the coolest movements. He kinks his head to the side—listening for the punch-in point, rolls his eyes up and makes a flitting motion with his hand, beckoning the guitarist to keep it coming. The he pops upright and busts into song. The bass player played the last four songs without an “E” string, fully impressing me as he transposed the quickly changing notes to his remaining strings. Decry blazed into the meat of their album “Falling”, tipping off the set with the more personal, cryptic lyrics from Farrell’s mind.

The Wasted Ones were straight up better than Decry. They strided on as another choir in the congregation for devotees. Humor-filled and honest about how it all has been, they proclaimed that they were part of the “Hep- C Generation” and asked to see a show of hands of who was with ‘em. Before letting out “We’re on Heroin” they re-titled it “We Were on Heroin.” Unsurprisingly topical were the song names that seemed to be cloned back to relevance like a Jurassic Park sequel. “Let’s Get Rid of Society”, the tongue-in-cheek “God Bless America”, “Fuck Authority.” I always thought little George would make us write some good lyrics. The already written ones took on a scary prophetic stance too; as if to say “learn this now, you’re going to need it.”

Both bands shared the same guitarist, another indication of the small community out of which these bands were born. Both bands also shared the sound so crucial to hardcore: four fast clicks of the sticks, bass and git running side by side thru power chord hurdles. Running two frets down, back up one, then open chord, repeat, then bridge, then repeat, then dead stop.Basic and meaningful, all the parts of thrash metal to be were displayed in less than 2 minutes.

As is with every hardcore punk band I’ve seen in LA, both Decry and the Wasted Ones checked out with covers. Decry blew “Sonic Reducer” out and headed straight for “Jealous Again”. The Wasted Ones finished with “Gimme Gimme Gimme” and the Angry Samoans gone Circle Jerks tune” I’ve Got the World Up My Ass”.

As if they were hymnals for a subculture whose identity is mostly in the gut-feeling and innate security of their music, these hardcore standards are passed on, live, to those who already can sing most of the lyrics for each song.

-Kevin Stack

Love Syndicate
Continental Club, September 3rd

Love Syndicate emits a lovely, suave, luscious, sexy sound. These musicians have a lot of jazz in their heart enabling them to improvise so well, a lot of blues in their soul allowing them to move you, and a spirit of rock and roll that brings it all together. This unique blending of musical genres ensures that no two songs are alike. Each one will hit you with something completely different.

Mixing their set with electric guitars, acoustical numbers, and saxophone, something in their music is bound to grab you and draw you into their characteristic sound. You may not fall in love with them by first note, but by the end of their set you might find yourself snapping your fingers and bopping your head. I know I wasn’t immediately hooked. At first I wasn’t completely sold on their use of the baritone sax in some of their songs, but after awhile I came to enjoy it. It really jazzed the songs up a bit.

The band is led by lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Joshua Komorowski. He is an extremely gifted individual. He is the brains and sophistication leading this band toward distinction. With the nod of his head or look in his eyes the rest of the band knows what direction he is taking the song. They know whether to pick it up, slow it down, or jam for awhile. Plus he possesses the voice, the best part about this band. It’s a soft, crooning voice that highlights his passionate, romantic lyrics. This voice echoes with smooth, melodious delight on the song “Sunshine and Obsession”, making it my favorite song they performed. This is a band that can really get you moving.

The crowd at the Continental dug ‘em and seemed to find them groovy. Be sure to check these guys out especially if you are into jazz music. Their next show is at the Saxon Pub on September 9th. Or buy one of their albums, put it on and pretend you are a kool kat.

-Misty Sweet


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