The Power of Suggestion

OFF! | The First Four EPsOFF! | The First Four EPs

I’ve been driving people completely crazy raving about this band over the last several weeks.

“Yes Jon, we know. You talked about them last time too. They sound just like early Black Flag. They even have a bug spray related name and Raymond Pettibon cover art. But it’s not like a rip off or anything. They’ve got the original singer of Black Flag (and we won’t forget the Circle Jerks) and he still sounds like it’s 1980, and we can’t ‘front’ on the rock resumes of the other band members either, so it’s more like a return to form, a full on, from-the-very-essence rebirth of all that is good and right about hardcore punk. Yes we know how awesome it is. Alright, alright, just settle down, shut up and try some decaf fer crap sake...”

OK, maybe I’m a little over-excited, but man... This should be blaring from the rooftops of every record store left in the world. It needs to be played on a non-stop loop for every 16-20 year old kid with a guitar thinking about starting a band so they understand that this...this is it - not that pasty My Chemical Romance swill - this right here is what it’s all about.

Check it out: Grooveshark ::: Get it: iTunes | Amazon

The Black Keys | Magic PotionThe Black Keys | Magic Potion

Of all the "two piece guitar and drums blues-rock bands" that seem to have cropped up over the past 5-6 years, The Black Keys are the best. Magic Potion is my favorite record because more than other recent releases, it showcases Dan Auerbach’s mind-blowing guitar riffs. “Elevator” and “Give Your Heart Away” are standouts in that regard.

There’s a super-authenticity and simplified accessibilty about the dry guitar sound and striped down production. From the jump-start opening of “Just Got to Be” to the deep tremolo bend in “Just A Little Heat” and the low down, mellow groove of “The Flame” to the stomp of “Black Door”; influences from classic blues like Junior Kimbrough to Jimmy Page are laid out clearly and honestly. Then built on and expanded with Auerbach’s “modern day bluesman” sensibility.

You can count on this record to deliver every time. I cannot get enough.

Check it out: Grooveshark ::: Get it: iTunes | Amazon

Obits | Moody, Standard and PoorObits | Moody, Standard and Poor

Is that an album title or a description of my personality? Heh.

So get a blender. Drop in big hunks of singer/guitarist Rick Froberg’s previous bands; the surging power of Drive Like Jehu and the frenetic urgency of Hot Snakes. Pour in some Stooges and the best parts of early Rolling Stones (Froberg sounds a bit like a pissed off Mick Jagger in places). Sprinkle in a touch of Yardbirds, and some grit off of the garage floor and you get the beautiful, straight up rock cocktail that is Obits.

“No Fly List" kicks you in the teeth, “Naked To The World” rolls in some 60’s surf and “Spot The Pikey” touches on Jimi Hendrix for second there. Damn good, every bit of it.

Check it out: Grooveshark ::: Get it: iTunes | Amazon

Pulled Apart By Horses | self-titledPulled Apart By Horses | self-titled

Speaking of throwing things into blenders... On Monday my co-worker Danielle asks if I’ve heard of this band from the UK. They’re a little too hardcore for her, but I might like them. She sends me the link and I click on over to their site and...

Holy. Crap.

I had something else in mind for this spot in this week's 5, but that got pushed out by one of the most exciting bands going right now - potentially the most unique band out of the UK I’ve ever heard. These young blokes blast out with ferocity and a completely insane mix of influences. There’s everything in this sound from the straight ahead, raw hardcore of British contemporaries Gallows to the quick metallic flourishes of Mastodon to some kind of sped up, mid 70’s Aerosmith to like Sonic Youth on 50 gallons of coffee.

Spectacular song titles like “I Punched A Lion In The Throat”, and “Back To The Fuck Yeah” really say it all. Thanks for the tip Danielle.

Check it out: Grooveshark | Band website

Gallows | Grey Britain

Gallows | Grey Britain

And speaking of ferocious British hardcore... P.A.B.H. got me going on some Gallows.

This is a rare situation where a band signs a big record contract then puts out their heaviest, most intense album ever. Usually it goes the other way, but there is no screwing around here. They’re “serious as a heart attack”.

Grey Britain is arranged like a hardcore rock opera of sorts. It ebbs and flows from blazing, crunching riffs and vengeful vocals that make you want to throw your fist in the air against oppression down into Oasis-like acoustic bits and fully orchestrated overtures. Which would seem out of place, but it works because they always drive all the way back again with seemingly even more raw power.

It’s totally epic record reminiscent of Conflict’s The Final Conflict, but with a harder, perhaps more American influenced edge.

Check it out: Grooveshark ::: Get it: iTunes | Amazon

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Survive a week without music? Not likely.

Each week Di5 recaps 5 records essential for survival. It’s not about what’s new or hot, but what’s keeping us above water.

Content is pretty much entirely punk, metal, hardcore and indie rock, but there’s also the occasional foray into blues or jazz or cheesy 80’s pop metal.


"I've an obligation
To dream or be dead..."

- from "Dream Or Be Dead" by Dax Riggs